As it seeks to find new ways to make its service more useful to brands, Twitter is taking a play out of Pinterest's playbook with the launch of new features around products and places.

Announced on Friday, Twitter product and place collections allow brands and prominent users to create curated collections of their favorite places and things.

A diverse group of brands including Nike, Target, Mountain Dew and Nordstrom, as well as celebrities like William Shatner, Demi Lovato and Code Simpson, are initial launch partners.

Their collections are accessible on iOS, Android and twitter.com through a "Browse Collection" button that appears on their Twitter profile pages.

In addition to product and place collections, Twitter is also experimenting with creating its own product and place pages that aggregate content related to things and locations. 

According to Twitter product manager Amaryllis Fox:

These pages will feature images and video about the product alongside information such as a description, price, and an option to buy, book, or visit the website for more information.

The pages will initially be surfaced within user timelines when they are shared by influencers.

Is Twitter finding itself, or losing its identity?

The face of Twitter has been changing rapidly as the company seeks to solidify its identity and address some of the vulnerabilities that have become apparent as competing social platforms have gained traction.

Twitter's new product and place features, while only experimental at this point, suggest that the company has been studying another social platform, Pinterest, closely.

Much of the engagement on Pinterest is focused around products and as Pinterest seeks to convert that engagement into revenue, it is rolling out transactional features like Buyable Pins.

Product and place collections, if launched more broadly, could lead to Pinterest-like activity on Twitter, and Twitter's "Buy on Twitter" functionality is not dissimilar to Buyable Pins.

The big question for Twitter is whether it can bolt on functionality like that found on social platforms like Pinterest and still be successful.

If it can, brands may find that the rapidly-evolving Twitter becomes an even more flexible and important platform going forward. If it can't, brands may find that Twitter becomes a less powerful platform as its identity is called further into question.

Patricio Robles

Published 22 June, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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