TwitPic, the largest photo sharing service on Twitter, posted a tweet to their Twitter account tonight announcing that they had just implemented OAuth as the new login method for their site. If you’re not familiar with the OAuth protocol, how it works, or how it affects you as a user, here is the short version.
OAuth is an open protocol that allows a user to share content stored on one site with another site without having to fork over the login credentials. In other words, you no longer have to provide TwitPic with your username and password to login to their site. Instead, you will need to click the “Sign in with Twitter” button located in the top right corner, when prompted enter your username and password on Twitter.com, and then click the “Allow” button to grant access to TwitPic. This allows TwitPic to connect to your Twitter account so it can access your data, but at no time will TwitPic receive your username and password. To learn more about OAuth visit their Web site here.
If for any reason you decide that you no longer want TwitPic to have access to your Twitter account, simply login to Twitter, navigate to “Settings,” click “Connections,” and then click “Revoke Access” next to the TwitPic connection. This will remove the connection and TwitPic will no longer have access to your account.
Although TwitPic did not mention any other changes in their tweet, I noticed several cosmetic changes when I visited their site earlier this evening. Some of the changes help with the overall appearance of the site while others eliminate features.
So what’s new in TwitPic?
Rotate Photo/View Full Size – Users now have to hover over a photo to trigger an overlay that will allow them to rotate the photo and view the full size. While this is not a new feature, it gives the interface a cleaner look and adds a little style.
Layout – The new TwitPic layout looks almost identical to Twitter’s timeline and individual tweet. For example, if you look at the individual tweet screenshot posted below and compare it to the new individual TwitPic screenshot it looks almost identical. (See screenshots below)
Colors – While the colors have not changed, they have been used differently.
What has been removed in TwitPic?
Additional Photos – TwitPic no longer allows thumbnail images that are in your TwitPic gallery to be displayed in the right side column. In the previous version of the site this was located under the advertisement space and titled “ More photos by….”
Report Image – There is no longer an option to report an image.
Text Under Logo – The text “Share photos on Twitter” that was located directly under the TwitPic logo has been removed.
Since TwitPic did not mention the cosmetic changes on their blog or Twitter it’s unclear if there are more changes coming. Nonetheless, I personally like some of the changes I’ve seen thus far, but it’s important for TwitPic to stay competitive with other photo sharing services because as it stands now they are lacking a lot of the features other services possess. Removing the additional photos thumbnail view from the right side column did not help their situation in the “features” department either.
While I was sitting here getting ready to close this out I started thinking to myself… “So why did TwitPic decide now would be a good time to make changes to the site?” Did they want to implement new features that would give it more of an appeal just in case Twitter starts shopping around in the photo sharing service market? Perhaps a deal is already in the works and they want to have all their ducks in a row when the acquisition is announced? Whatever the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re beginning to see a pattern here and everything seems to be pointing to an acquisition.