I just watched the TED talk by Evan Williams about how Twitter is giving rise to interesting and unexpected applications (link). It really speaks to the benefit of having a flexible interface that other people can use to build innovative applications upon. It’s early days yet, and I can’t help but wonder if Twitter will survive as a separate entity. Who does it really appeal to? Despite reports of becoming more mainstream, Twitter only has a few million users, a small fraction of online users. After tinkering around with it a little, I think the underlying technology is quite easily replicable by other firms. The IP doesn’t seem easy to protect, and network lock-in doesn’t seem as strong as for other applications like email and facebook. I suspect that as a user, I could easily switch to another provider with a single ‘tweet’ to all my followers to find me at the new provider. And, where will their revenue come from? My prediction is that if it proves succesful, we’ll see tweeter-like status updates built into everything ranging from your google desktop to your mobile phone. Even now, Joshua thinks his facebook status update is more useful.