Twitter has launched “Groups” in Japan and this service has been named “Twicco”. The service is currently available only in Japanese, though other languages may be added later.
Previously, Twitter had used Japan as a test market when they first attempted to display ads among user Tweets. What is surprising is that even though Twitter is an American company with a predominantly English-speaking audience, it chooses Japan for its trial runs.
Svetlana at Profy speculates that this preference for experimenting in Japan may have something to do with the fact that in Japan, Twitter is run as part of a joint venture between Twitter and Digital Garage. It is possible that their partners may wish to try out new things, which Twitter does not wish to use elsewhere. The launch was discovered by Loic Le Meur.
Twicco allows a user to create and follow various groups. Following groups is just like tracking companies or events on Twitter.
While Twicco is a separate site and service by itself at present, it is entirely possible that Twitter may integrate it into the mainstream offering at some stage. Feedback received from Japanese users will likely be used to decide the future of this service, i.e. based on the response received in Japan, Twitter may decide whether or not to introduce this facility worldwide.
Ads from Doubleclick are already integrated into Twicco on the right-hand side of the page, rather than between user tweets. User names still link back to the original user profiles on Twitter.