Twitter Places with Photos

Today we officially announced a new feature for TwitPic that integrates some great location-aware features using Twitter’s new Places service.  For a long time, we have wanted to be able to put a location with a photo.  It adds meaning, and it is also a great tool for businesses to stay on top of things.  Since we are using Twitter Places, you can not only say that a photo was taken in “Charleston, SC”, but you can also say that the photo was taken at “Starbucks, 239 King St., Charleston, SC”, for instance.

Adding a location to photos is simple.  There are two ways you can do this:

Adding a Location to a New Photo

When you upload a photo using the TwitPic website (not a 3rd party Twitter app), there is a checkbox in the third step (Post Options) that says “Include location data”.  If this box is checked, this means that you want to specify where this photo was taken.

One thing that is important to note is that we rely on your camera’s ability to store the coordinates of where the photo was taken in order to provide you with better location services.  Almost all moderately new cell phones have this ability, and some high end digital cameras do as well.  If there is no location data stored with your photo, you will not be presented with a page to choose the photo’s location.  If you would still like to choose a location for the photo despite this, you can follow the instructions in the next section.

So once you click the Upload button on the upload page, and if your photo has location data, you will see the new Places page as shown below (click to enlarge):

Screen shot 2010-06-24 at 6.15.07 PM

From here, you can save where the photo was actually taken.  You will see nearby options listed based on where the photo was taken, although if the correct location is not shown, you can search for it, as shown below (click to enlarge):

Screen shot 2010-06-24 at 6.18.46 PM

To select a location, click on it in the list, and it will become highlighted in a pretty blue.  Click the “Save with Location” button at the bottom and voila!  It is important that you click either “Save with Location” or “Save without Location”, or else the tweet with your photo will not be sent to Twitter.

If your photo was not taken at any particular location, but you would still like to show where it was taken on the photo page, you have the option to “Use Exact Coordinates”.  This will show a pinpoint on the map showing exactly where the photo was taken.  Normally, if you choose a Place for the photo, it will show that place instead of the photo’s exact coordinates.

Adding a Location to an Existing Photo

If you would like to go back through your already uploaded photos and assign locations to them as well, then you can do that too!  Simply navigate to the photo you would like to set a location for, and click the link “add/edit location” to the right of the photo.  You will be presented with a page very similar to the one shown above.

If your photo does not have location data stored with it, you will have to search for the place manually.  In the search box, type in the name of the location and be as descriptive as possible.  We are working on refining this search, but for now it may take a few tries to find the right location.  We will also add the ability to choose an exact location by clicking on the map in the future.

Once you have chosen a location, click the “Save with Location” button.  Clicking “Delete Location” will remove the location currently saved with the photo.

Some Final Words

Twitter Places is a very important milestone in our development, but keep in mind that it is an extremely new feature.  Twitter is constantly working to improve the feature, just as we are working to improve our implementation of the feature.  If the location you are searching for is not found, chances are it will be added in the near future as Twitter expands the feature.

We hope you like the new feature, and let us know what you think!

We hit 10 million users today!

It’s a big milestone day for us here at Twitpic and we want to say thank you to all of our users…all 10 million of you (not to mention the 40 million different people who visit the site every month)!

I launched Twitpic 2 years ago over a weekend as a pet project and I had no idea it would turn into what it has today – Twitpic would not be what it is without all of you, our faithful users, and you truly do mean a lot to us…*queue group hug*

To show our thanks we are also releasing a new feature today called Face Tagging. With Face Tagging you can tag people in your photos and also let them know when they’ve been tagged. If you are familiar with Facebook’s photo tagging then this should be very familiar to you.

Face Tagging in action

Twitpic Face Tagging

We hope you enjoy the new features and we have much more in the works!

Also we will be giving out free hugs to all of our users to say thanks…@noaheverett likes hugs.

Get your Twitpic stickers

Update: The deadline for us to receive your SASE to be part of the Twitpic sticker contest is December 31st. You can still send us an SASE after December 31st and you will still get free stickers.

We were overwhelmed by the response to the Twitpic stickers we just got in, so we have been working on a plan to get YOU these stickers.

Here’s how it works:
Just send a Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope to the address below and we will send you back some Twitpic stickers!

Feel free to include a note confessing your undying love for Twitpic or a stick figure that you drew, since @noaheverett himself will be receiving this mail at his apartment and he likes real mail (not junk mail full of coupons that he never users…except for the pizza ones, those were good)

A note will be included with your stickers with instructions on a photo contest we are running in conjunction with these free stickers…and yes there will be a prize for the winner.

So to recap just send a self addressed, stamped envelope to:

Attn: @noaheverett
7736 Farr St Apt 907
Charleston, SC 29492

..and you will get Twitpic stickers! and maybe some lint

Email posting vulnerability fixed

Yesterday we were made aware of a vulnerability with our email posting system that would allow someone to brute force someone’s Twitpic email PIN by trying every combination until one worked. A fix has been put in place to prevent this from happening.

I want to stress that no account information was compromised, the vulnerability only allowed someone to post a photo to Twitpic/Twitter on someone’s behalf, but did not allow access to their account in any way. Once we were made aware of the issue we immediately began work on a fix and also shut down email system to prevent any unauthorized postings. Also any account that was affected by this was remedied. Less than 10 users were affected by the attacks.

I want to make it clear that this was NOT a Twitter issue, but a Twitpic issue, and I take full responsibility for it. Once I contacted Twitter about the issue on our end, they worked with us to help remedy any unauthorized postings and they were extremely helpful. Kudos to the Twitter team.

We have already begun working with the ISP’s where the attacks originated from to find out who they were initiated by and to investigate what action should be taken. The ISP’s have been helpful and have already given us information about the accounts where the attacks originated from – (@noaheverett has already broke out the ninja suit…on snap).

I want to apologize to anyone this has affected and I want you to know that we take security seriously. Thank you very much for being Twitpic users and allowing us to be part of your photo sharing experience.

Hiring a Software/Systems Engineer

If you spent 15 hours a day on the computer growing up like I did and drink enough caffeine to kill a horse, then this may interest you.

The technical challenges and work load have become too much for just me (@noaheverett) to do alone, so Twitpic is looking to add a Software/Systems Engineer because it’s growing and it’s growing fast. Twitpic has close to 1.5 million users over 3 million users now and is accelerating at an astounding rate.

What we are looking for:

  • Experience with all aspects of the LAMP stack (aka PHP ninja)
  • Experience working on web platforms that receive millions of request every day and scaling those platforms (including web serving, database optimization, & code optimization)
  • Knowledge of standards compliant HTML/CSS/Javascript a plus
  • Self motivated, passionate & a team player
  • Someone who loves Twitter and its community

Responsibilities:

  • Maintain existing and engineer new functionality
  • Continually improve the performance and scalability of the Twitpic service
  • Monitor service stability and performance
  • Design, implement, and maintain PHP-based application and infrastructure components
  • Refactor and improve maintainability of the codebase
  • Rapidly fix bugs and solve problems
  • Provide user support when needed
  • Do @noaheverett‘s laundry…just kidding…but seriously

NOTE: this position is located in Charleston, South Carolina

lolcat-job

Send your resume to jobs@twitpic.com.

Be sure to include the title of this position “Software/Systems Engineer” in the subject.

Bringing the Rain

Hello everyone, I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been up to at Twitpic and some new things that are coming.

First off, the data center move was completed last week and things are running much smoother now. The move is now allowing us to scale easier as Twitpic grows and boy are we growing at an astounding rate. Thank you so much for your patience with us these last few months as we’ve learned to handle Twitpic’s growth.

Secondly, I wanted to address the issue of pornography being uploaded to Twitpic and some users posting harassing comments and tags on photos. Let me just start by saying that this will NOT be tolerated and in the next coming weeks any user found in violation of our Terms of Service, uploading inappropriate content, and/or posting harassing comments/tags will be banned.

This has not been a huge issue in the past, but since Twitpic has been growing by leaps and bounds lately its become something that has to be put in check. I know I personally wouldn’t want to be presented with this kind of content and neither should you have to be presented with it either. My goal is to create a site that is family friendly. Also, the ability to delete comments/tags from your photos is being added this week.

Some really exciting things are in the works so stay tuned and THANK YOU for allowing us to be a part of your photo sharing experiences.

Moving to a new data center & other things that make you squeal

Twitpic will be taken down tonight at 10pm CST to complete the move to its new data center. It should only be down for a few hours.

This is the first big step in making Twitpic more reliable. This move will put Twitpic on its new hardware platform with over 3 times it’s current capacity…basically we bought more hamsters and put them in bigger wheels and gave them red bull (which is illegal in 48 states, but I know someone in government and they owed me a favor so its cool).

A new sexier & younger looking…uhhhh…*cough* a NEW layout for Twitpic will also be released tonight, below is a preview:

twitpic-2-preview

Thanks for hanging in there with us! There is much much more coming.

Its red bull time…

Plan of action

Hello everyone, I wanted to give you a heads up of whats going on with Twitpic and whats going to be happening soon.

First off I want to thank all of our faithful users and all of the developers who have added Twitpic support into their apps, thank you very very much.

We are growing at a fantastic rate of over 6,000 users a day and the amount of photos posted every day is growing very fast as well.

Some of you have noticed an issue with Twitpic lately has randomly caused a few photos to show the incorrect (usually corrupted) photo, I’ve been aware of this issue and have been working on it. A brand new Twitpic will be released in the next coming weeks that WILL fix that issue (its mostly caused by the scale we have grown to).

The new Twitpic will be on a brand new hardware platform that will allow us to scale with our growth much easier and it will also sport a brand new design and layout. The first release that’s coming out in the next few weeks will have just the core functionality of what Twitpic is now because the main goal with that release is to get the site on its new hardware platform. Once that is completed I will be releasing new functionality.

Thank you so much for being patient with us as we grow. Hang tight! Twitpic will be running much smoother in a few weeks.

I dropped the ball

In this post I want to let you know what happened to cause Twitpic to go down for roughly 24 hours on Sunday and to let you know what the plan is. I’ll start off by what happened and what went wrong.

Twitpic was going to be down for scheduled maintenance Sunday morning at 12am CST. During this maintenance time I was moving some of Twitpic’s servers around in our data center and getting things ready for the switch to Twitpic’s new hardware platform that is going live sometime this quarter. The move itself went fine, but after the move a hardware failure occurred on one of our main servers that caused Twitpic to run slow and then eventually go down completely. After troubleshooting for hours and realizing I couldn’t fix the server since the issue was due to a hardware failure, I setup a new server to take over.

Twitpic being down that long is not acceptable. I am very sorry and I (@noaheverett) take full responsibility.

My main goal is to make Twitpic stable and to prepare for our growth. For the past few months I’ve been building a scalable hardware platform to run Twitpic on and I will be going live with that this quarter. I’m also taking the appropriate means to get funding into Twitpic. I do realize that me running the service by myself will become a bottle neck to Twitpic and so I am looking to grow Twitpic from just me, to a great team.

I truly am thankful for the support you have given me and for your words of encouragement. I want to pay you back by giving you the best service possible. I really believe we can change the world with this.

Scheduled maintenance tonight at 12am CST

Twitpic will be down tonight for a few hours for scheduled maintenance starting at 12am CST.

For the past 2 months I’ve been working on a new hardware platform to run Twitpic and tonight’s maintenance downtime will put it one step closer to running on that platform.

Twitpic is growing at a fantastic rate and I want to provide a stable and reliable service that you can use.

The news event that happened 2 days ago that brought twitpic down for around an hour showed what the potential is and I want to be prepared for the next time something like this happens and tonight will help in hitting that goal soon.

Some really exciting things will be coming out soon so stay tuned and thank you for being such great users…*group hug*