According to Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, "multiple sources have confirmed" that Twitter is readying the launch of a new set of tools to let third-party sites easily integrate with Twitter. He calls this the company's response to Facebook Connect.
This wouldn't be the first offering from Twitter that provides functionality similar to Facebook Connect. Early last year, Twitter released a product called "Sign in with Twitter", which is based on OAuth and lets users sign in to third-party site using their Twitter accounts. Twitter provided the following flowchart to illustrate how it works:
Twitter has placed very few restrictions on developers though and a number of visitor widgets have already been developed. TwitterCounter, for example, has developed the Twitter widget, which is essentially the Twitter version of MyBlogLog. What benefit would this new package provide? We aren’t quite sure aside from “better packaging” which doesn’t mean much given that Twitter already has an extremely well designed RESTful API.
Facebook has already launched a number of widgets for webmasters and developers, something which Twitter hasn’t successfully rolled out yet. Then again, does Twitter really need to develop more widgets? TweetMeme has essentially developed an identical service to Facebook’s share analytics. TwitterCounter already has a competitor to Facebook’s fan box and page badge.
Facebook announced last month that over 80,000 sites and other services have implemented Facebook Connect since its general availability in 2008. Over 60 million Facebook users engage with Facebook Connect on external services each month (not including mobile use of Facebook).
Twitter doesn't enjoy quite the same magnitude of usage that Facebook does, but it is growing internationally, and whatever this "answer to Facebook Connect" is, it will likely only help fuel that growth.