New Twitter: Shiny New Features and A Giant Ad Space?

So last year, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter claimed that Twitter has tons of cash in the bank and is in no rush to make money. Their plan was to continue coasting, take their time building a business plan, and attempt to make money using non-traditional advertising (Source: Wired article)

Which is fine.

Now over the past year, non-traditional ads of different kinds have surfaced such as sponsored tweets, promoted accounts, and even ads in trending topics.

Which is fine.

Except, I can't help but look at new Twitter and wonder... is Twitter hedging their bets with this new design? Is this intended to provide room for more traditional(?) banner-style ads, a la Facebook?

Case in point: New Twitter Window

What's changed:
  1. In-page links for replies, dms, faves, lists, etc.
  2. Nice, clean layout for tweets
  3. Wider right column. Click tweets in left column and supporting details appear in right column. (Note: why is it so big?)
  4. Very little visible background: 80% of screen real estate in most browsers is now occupied by the new twitter window.
Remembering of course that consumers are using this app for free, we are the least important variable in the money-making equation. Therefore when I look at newtwitter, especially when I observe the right column once the user scrolls down a bit through their tweets and it's suddenly blank, I can't help but thinking...

What do you think? Am I nuts? Is Twitter just leaving room for potential banner/Facebook-style ads? I can't imagine any other reason they would leave 40% of their UI blank...

Thoughts? Leave a comment!

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