Last night the good people of the Internet waited with bated breath after Twitter announced its big redesign reveal. The upgrade introduces a new interface build, embedded media, related content, and all the more reason to check your third party apps at the door. Let's take a quick look at what the new Twitter offers, and what it's still missing:

Bigger's Better

We'll start with the obvious. Twitter is bigger:


While our 140 character friend has always consisted of two columns, the right-hand sidebar has been tweaked to just about match the left in screen real estate. In addition to providing a cleaner look at favorited tweets, trends and follow suggestions, the change in size also makes room for expanded tweets.

For example, let's say someone tweets a link to a photo using TwitPic. If a user highlights the tweet in his or her feed, the photo will then appear in the right-hand column:


Flickr integration also makes it possible to link entire photo albums to a tweet, which then display in the right-hand column as a set of thumbnails and a slideshow. Other media content partners include YouTube, Vimeo, and Ustream (yes, videos displays, too!) 

“What’s Happening?”

You'll also probably notice that Twitter has hidden both the Tweet button and the character count from plain sight. If you want to view these two staples, you'll have to actually click the blank text field at the top of the page. As MG Siegler of TechCrunch put it, "This seems to go along with what CEO Evan Williams stated earlier — that Twitter doesn’t have to necessarily be about tweeting, it can be about exploring too."

Accordingly, the text field is no longer the only way to tweet. If exploring leads you far away from your starting point, you can now hit the new pad of paper/pen icon and an overlay box will appear, allowing you to tweet without losing your place in Twitter time:


image credit - TechCrunch

There are several other nifty new perks, including keyboard shortcuts, location maps, mini profiles, new error messages and improved landing pages, but you'll have to wait until the update reaches your account to get the full effect. In the meantime, check out Twitter's official release video to see it in action:

Who Cares if There's an App for That? 

Ever since Twitter engineer Alex Payne sent out that infamously disruptive tweet in March, we've been anticipating the fall of third-party Twitter apps. Nothing, however, has stirred the pot quite like this media-rich makeover. 

For starters, it's pretty. So pretty in fact, that as the update spreads to all users over the next few weeks, it's likely that the masses are going to want to tinker around with it rather than open whichever desktop client they've downloaded. Secondly, the addition of a truckload of rich-media and metadata support all but punts photo/video solutions -- such as Brizzly -- across the interweb. 

Then again, Brizzly offers one saving grace: Facebook integration. This is significant because, as we saw earlier this year, it appears that everyone's favorite open social network is closed to Twitter's talons.  Further, other popular solutions like TweetDeck and Seesmic enable users to manage multiple accounts, or schedule tweets for future posting. Whether Twitter will add these functionalities remains to be seen, but the raucous over the revamp certainly proves that the company means business. 

We'll leave you with the closing note from Twitter's official blog post:

These changes will roll out as a preview over the next several weeks starting with a very small percentage of registered accounts tonight. During the preview, you'll be able to switch back and forth so you have time to grow accustomed to the way things work. Eventually, everyone will have the updated version of We are incredibly proud of the work the Twitter web team has accomplished. We hope you are too!