Twitter is updating its app to make its audio chat room, Twitter Spaces, a central part of the user experience. Today, the company will start rolling out to select users a dedicated tab for Twitter Spaces in the main navigation bar of the mobile app, first on iOS. The function will see that Twitter Spaces gets the midpoint in this line, between the search magnifying glass icon and the bell icon for alerts. Since Spaces does not replace any other tab, this means that the navigation bar now has to accommodate five icons instead of just four.
Not everyone will see the update immediately. Instead, only about 500 people from the original Spaces beta test will first see the new Spaces discovery tab, as it is called, when it rolls out today.
Twitter says that the tab will show the places that host the people you follow, but these will not look like they do on the Fleet bar today at the top of the timeline. Instead, the Discovery tab will present Spaces in a more visual format, similar to the promotional cards displayed when you tweet about upcoming Spaces.
The company told TechCrunch that while Spaces can be fun, it understands that live events have been difficult to find and keep track of, given that there has been no dedicated place where Spaces can be discovered. The new tab aims to change that.
In the category, users will be able to see active rooms with more details, including room names, hosts and people you know who participate. The tab will also allow users to manage reminders for scheduled rooms so you are notified when to start, and give Twitter feedback on which areas you want to see more about.
App researcher Jane Manchun Wong had unveiled Twitter’s plans to modernize the app to include Spaces on the hub line last month.
So far, only Twitter users with at least 600 followers have been given the opportunity to host Spaces, and Twitter told us that the number has not changed with the launch of the tab. However, the company still has big plans for the Spaces product, including not only planned Spaces that will now be easier to find with this discovery feature, but also things like ticket events, organizers that have been arranged, improvements in accessibility and more.
Putting Spaces directly in the navigation bar represents a lot of pressure for Twitter’s audio chat rooms, which have otherwise been fairly easy to ignore by those who are not so interested in Twitter’s Clubhouse competitor. It also arrives at a time when Clubhouse is expanding access to its own social audio app. Following its debut on Android, Clubhouse said that two million Android users have already joined the platform.
Meanwhile, Twitter has not yet published how many users have tested Spaces at this time, either as a host or end user.
In addition to today’s launch, Twitter will also begin rolling out another Spaces feature that was previously tested: showing the purple ring around someone’s profile photos from the Home timeline.
At the moment, profile pictures can be highlighted with a blue ring that takes you to the user’s rafts when you press, but the new purple ring will indicate that they are actively using Spaces at that time. You can then tap on their profile picture to join them. The feature makes it easier to find spaces while just browsing the Twitter timeline as usual.
After the new Spaces tab is tested with the original beta test group, it will start rolling out more people, says Twitter.