Twitter has acquired the highlight-sharing app Highly. Andrew Courter, Highly CEO, announced the acquisition through a Medium post on Wednesday, however, he did not divulge into details about the role that Highly would play at Twitter. Twitter confirmed to TechCrunch that the deal was an acquihire, meaning Twitter acquire Highly primarily for its staff and not for its services. While it is unclear what use will Twiter exploit out of Highly, it will undoubtedly play a role in Twitter’s wider goals of improving conversation features.
Highly comes as both browser plug-in and iOS app and lets users highlight any text from articles and share it with their friends directly through email, social media, Slack, and text message. It also lets users access an archive of quotes that they have shared over time. In the wake of the acquisition, Highly says that it will cease operation of its Slack and iOS app on April 26, but promises it will retain all reader highlights. Currently, the Highly browser plug-ins on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari appear to be safe. Highly’s paid products, Crowd Control and Highly for Teams, will now be free.
“Sharing highlights, not headlines — sharing thinking instead of lazily linking — helps spark the kind of conversation that leaves participants and observers alike a bit better off than they started. We’d like to see more of this” the Highly team wrote.
Last month, Twitter was reported to be testing a new feature: a “subscribe to conversation” buttons that would let users follow a thread without being involved in it in any way. With this new feature, Twiter has added a button to the top right corner of threads. Clicking on this button will notify users when additional tweets have been added to the thread. Since users are not required to “heart” or comment in a thread to receive updates, this could add a bit of anonymity. There is no information as to when this feature might see a release with the full-fledged version of the app.