Twitter has unveiled the Follow button, which lets you instantly follow Twitter accounts directly from the websites you visit. The company has already partnered with 56 websites to push the button out, allowing you to quickly start following the Twitter accounts of reporters, athletes, celebrities, and so on.
To follow someone, just click the button once. To see their profile and latest tweets, click the username next to the button. For publishers and brands, adding the Follow button to their website increases the chances that their users will retweet and engage their tweets, as well as come back to the website.
In related news, Twitter has acquired AdGrok, an Internet advertising startup. The AdGrok team will now be working full-time on Twitter's revenue engineering team. Details of the deal were not disclosed.
AdGrok will no longer accept new customers and will cease charging its existing users immediately. The company will be shutting down its servers on June 30, 2011. On that day, the GrokBar will not longer be available, all AdGrok customers will be unlinked from the AdGrok Google accounts, and the databases will be securely deleted. Performance data and campaign structures from AdGrok customers will not be shared with Twitter, nor will they be affected by the shutdown; this information will continue to be accessible through personal Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts.
"There's nothing better than working on something that your customers want and appreciate, and you have all been awesome to work with," an AdGrok spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to work on things that people want, but this time, we start with a passionate, global audience of millions of people! How many times can you do that, eh?"
Just last week, Twitter acquired TweetDeck for tens of millions, an Adobe AIR desktop application for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare, and MySpace. In April 2010, Twitter bought the application developer Atebits, which had developed the Twitter client Tweetie for Apple products. The application, now simply called Twitter, is distributed for free as the official Twitter client for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
In addition to the aforementioned three acquisitions, Twitter has been seriously pushing out updates recently. Two months ago, the company announced it had improved search by making it three times faster and also launched a new homepage. Last month, the company started to roll out a new mobile website.