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Twitter CEO outlines new tweet downloading, curation features at ONA 12

Fresh on the heels of a report by two researchers at the University of Virginia claiming that roughly a quarter of content on Twitter disappears after two years, a new bit of news from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo indicates that Twitter users, at some point in the future, will be able to mass-download everything they've sent to the service.

At least, that's the implication – details are scant for the "download all" functionality that Costolo just hinted at in an interview at this year's Online News Association conference in San Francisco. However, the feature should theoretically be live by the end of 2012, so long as Twitter's existing workload doesn't otherwise take up its engineers' ability to build the feature.

While Twitter users can currently archive their tweets using third-party tools, the service's API limit means that any non-Twitter app will only be able to access a user's last 3,200 tweets. That sounds like a lot on paper, unless you're one of those obsessives who turns to Twitter 10 times a day or more – then, the number adds up pretty quickly and you're completely out of luck if you're looking to save all of your 140-character witticisms for future posterity.

Twitter will also soon unveil a tool that will allow users to manually curate and display tweets related to breaking news or other current events – and, as part of these "Tweet Boxes," users will also be able to add in additional live-feed elements to supplement a site or piece of news.

For example, one could use a Tweet Box to add a real-time live poll for a sporting event — like, say, having users tweet their selection of MVP for a particular match-up, with Twitter using its platform to counting down the seconds remaining in the popular voting process.

"We've known for a long time that for events in the real world, the shared experience is on Twitter," said Costolo, according to Reuters. "We want to create an ability to curate those events."

Twitter's recently taken flak from the developer community for the new guidelines the company has put in place with the release of its latest API, which include limitations as to how many user tokens Twitter-like third-party apps are allow to have for free without Twitter's direct permission (100,000), adding authentication for developers looking to access API endpoints that were previously a free-for-all, and requiring pre-installed Twitter clients on consumer devices to first seek Twitter's approval first, among other changes.

Additionally, the writing remains on the wall for those looking to build apps that clone Twitter's look and feel – including the service's own image-uploading features.

"Nearly eighteen months ago, we gave developers guidance that they should not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience," wrote Twitter's Michael Sippey. "And to reiterate what I wrote in my last post, that guidance continues to apply today."