Twitter launches emergency alerts system across iPhone, Android apps

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Twitter unveiled Alerts, a new emergency notification system rolling out across its flagship mobile applications for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.

Twitter Alerts will deliver warnings and information from "credible organizations" in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, explained Twitter Product Manager Gaby Peña. "We know from our users how important it is to be able to receive reliable information during these times," Peña said. "With that in mind, last year we announced Lifeline (a feature that helps Japanese users find emergency accounts during crises), and since then, we've been working on a related feature for people around the world."

Organizations including the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are authorized to transmit Twitter Alerts. "If you sign up to receive an account's Twitter Alerts, you will receive a notification directly to your phone whenever that account marks a Tweet as an alert," Peña said. "Notifications are delivered via SMS, and if you use Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android, you'll also receive a push notification. Alerts also appear differently on your home timeline from regular Tweets; they will be indicated with an orange bell." Twitter will expand Alerts to additional public institutions and non-governmental organizations in the weeks ahead.

Twitter expanded its new personalized recommendations feature to iOS and Android earlier this week. Twitter supplies personalized recommendations when multiple people within the user's network follow the same account or favorite or retweet the same comment: Twitter for Android and Twitter for iPhone users may now receive recommendations via push notifications.

Twitter passed the 200 million monthly active user milestone in late 2012, with research firm comScore reporting that 53.6 percent of unique users access the microblogging platform via mobile device. Twitter is on pace to earn $582.8 million in global ad revenue this year, according to eMarketer; that figure includes $308 million from mobile ads, up 123.2 percent year-over-year.

Twitter filed to go public earlier this month. Analysts have previously estimated that Twitter's IPO could be valued at around $10 billion, but Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter told The Washington Post that its stock was trading closer to $15 billion on private markets following the filing announcement.

For more:
- read this Twitter Blog post

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