Twitter buys a chat app to boost DMs and community features

·1-min read
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Twitter is willing to spend to bolster direct messaging. CNBC notes Twitter has acquired the chat app Sphere for an unspecified amount. Engineering VP Nick Caldwell said the move would speed up development for DMs, Communities and Creators. There were no specific clues as to what was coming next, but Sphere said was "winding down" its app in November. You won't see a repurposed Sphere app, then.

Sphere is notable not just for its features (it focuses on "essential" messages and clearing out clutter), but on the tech industry star power surrounding the app. The company is the product of Nick D'Aloisio, a serial entrepreneur who caught attention even as a teen — he sold Summly to Yahoo (now Engadget's parent company) when he was 17. His latest venture has high-profile investors, including co-founders from Airbnb and Tinder. While Sphere isn't particularly large with just 20 staffers headed to Twitter, there were clearly high hopes before the acquisition.

The purchase is a fitting one. Twitter has poured much of its recent energy into DMs and helping creators form communities. Twitter could weave Sphere's focused community features throughout its social network and better compete against Instagram and other rivals that thrive on private messaging and influential figures.

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