By TOM BRADSHAW The Associated PressBy TOM BRIDSHAW / Associated PressReutersThe social network will remove photos and video from its popular Panda photo-sharing app, which had more than 6 million users in the U.S. last year, and its online video platform, which has more than 4 million users, in an effort to make its social network more accessible to people who don’t speak English.
A spokeswoman for Twitter said Friday the company is removing photos and videos that were not part of the app because they are not part and parcel of the experience that users are used to on the site.
The company said it plans to replace images from its apps with videos, photos, audio, and GIFs.
Users of the apps will be able to opt out of the photos and images from the new Panda app, but will still be able upload and share photos and clips that appear in the apps.
Twitter will also remove its video-sharing feature, the company said.
A Twitter spokeswoman said the decision was driven by concerns that the app lacked user experience, a common complaint among Asian Americans who say they can’t find other apps to share their photos and clip videos.
The service is expanding its video and photo-sensing capabilities, including using its API to stream video and photos from Google’s Photos service to users of its photo-recognition software.
Twitter’s video- and photo recognition software also works with Instagram, Twitter’s main social network, and others.
The company said Friday that it was testing a photo-to-video feature in the new app, with an expected launch in December.
Twitter and the company that makes the Panda app said Thursday that it had reached an agreement to integrate Google’s photo-reading service, Google+ Photo, into the app.
The service will also work with Twitter’s video sharing service, the spokeswoman said.
Twitter will add video-sensor capabilities to its online app.
Twitter said it would add a new video-to–text feature, video-over-text, and video-switching capabilities in the coming weeks.
The Panda app was the first major app that has been widely adopted by Chinese-speaking Twitter users in recent years, said David Mwangi, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
It has helped users find content and people they can follow on Twitter, and it’s become a way to get people’s stories across, Mwangisays.
The app also allows users to follow other users in Chinese-language groups and add photos to a group.
Mwangi says the app is especially useful for Chinese-American and Hispanic users, who have been reluctant to sign up for other social media sites because of the language barrier.
The deal with Google is the latest in a string of acquisitions by tech companies in recent months.
Facebook acquired video-video company Vine for $1 billion last year.
Twitter is in the midst of a $1.3 billion acquisition of video-streaming service WeChat, also known as WeChatTV.
Twitter has also acquired the Instagram platform, the news site, and mobile apps for Android and iOS.