Twitter has released photo galleries for individual users, in a subtle move that could have huge implications for the social network's competition with rivals Facebook and Google+.
In Twitter's help center, it says, "User galleries on Twitter aggregate the images you've uploaded in your Tweets into an organized page where you can view all of your most recent images. The images included in user galleries can come from Twitter, yFrog, TwitPic, Instagram and other image sharing services supported in Twitter's details pane."
That's good news for the third-party services that have been major factors in photo sharing on Twitter. Companies like Yfrog and Twitpic were dealt a huge blow when Twitter decided to start offering its own photo sharing feature, which was just finally rolled out a couple weeks ago.
User galleries can display up to 100 of the most recent images in the user's tweets (in chronological order). It doesn't include videos. It is worth noting, however, that images that were sent prior to the beginning of 2010 will not be included.
To access the galleries, you can go to a user's profile page. To open the full gallery, click "view all". They can be viewed in grid view (thumbnails) or detail view, which shows the most recent one with the body of the tweet displayed below it, and thumbnails for the other images above it.
Users can remove images by simply deleting the tweets that they reside in. It's worth noting that if you copy/paste images from others (retweeting images) they will not appear in your gallery if you use the retweet button.
Twitter points out that some images may appear black, and that his happens when content partners' servers are overloaded.
In terms of this being a major competitive feature, photos are simply a major part of any social network. It gives users a reason to come back, as well as visit individual profiles more. Good move. Probably overdue, but this just continues Twitter's recent trend of making major improvements, which it has been doing pretty much since Jack Dorsey returned to the operations at the company.
Note: It does appear that the feature has not completely rolled out yet.