Twitter is going ahead of 140 characters by including a photo-sharing service. The social network is rolling out an image-hosting aspect to users over the next couple of weeks, CEO Dick Costolo declared on Wednesday at the All Things Digital conference here.

Users will be able to upload photos through Twitter's website to start, with desktop and mobile applications coming later, Costolo said. To construct the service's backbone, Twitter partnered with Photobucket, which already hosts more than 8 billion photos and videos. The Twitter service will accept only still images.

"Photobucket is excited to be chosen to power this extension of Twitter," Photobucket CEO Tom Munro said in an e-mailed statement. "We are confident that together we can seamlessly provide a simple, intuitive photo sharing experience for Twitter users"

Twitter is also in discussion with cellular carriers to enable people to tweet photos using a phone's picture-messaging system, Twitter said in a statement.

The new photo feature coincides with changes to Twitter's search function. Results pages will now include popular photos and videos alongside text. The videos will be pulled from websites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

Several third-party photo services, such as Twitpic and Yfrog, have specifically targeted Twitter users. Costolo said Twitter created its own service to make the process easier for less tech-savvy people.

A survey competed this month by the Pew Research Center says 13% of U.S. adults with Web access use Twitter.


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