Twitter, the popular microblogging service, announced today that its latest feature, the Tweet Button, has gone live. Twitter is partnering with Tweetmeme, the company responsible for the majority of retweet buttons on the Web for the past year and a half, in offering a simple way for users to share content wherever they go.

According to Twitter, nearly a quarter of all tweets include a link and, until now, they have been shared using third-party services or by "copying and pasting, link shortening, and bouncing between browser tabs" which the company calls "just too much work".

The Tweet button looks to make life easy for users and publishers alike, cutting down both on the time and effort it takes to share content as well as to include retweeting functionality onto a site. The button has gone live on a number of major websites, including entire the entire WordPress blogging network, sharing widget ShareThis and YouTube, and the company expects that "more than a few sites will join the above in the hours to come."

For the user, the Tweet button will bring up a pop-up window with a suggested tweet and a shortened link, identifying both the full link to be shared and the URL shortener used. After tweeting, users may also see a list of suggested Twitter accounts to follow, as designated by the site they're visiting.

On the developer end, the new button takes only a few lines of code and allows the publisher to decide the suggested tweet text, who the tweet should be attributed to and the list of suggested Twitter accounts to follow. The Tweet button API does not, however, appear to include a way for publishers to choose a preferred URL shortener. It seems likely that the move is a precursor to Twitter's long-awaited analytics, as it may be difficult to lure publishers away from third-party URL shorteners that already offer such statistics. When Twitter launched native URL shortener t.co in June, it signaled that eventually all links would be wrapped in t.co as a way to protect users and keep track of links to determine if they are "relevant and interesting".

Tweetmeme founder Nick Halstead said in a blog post today that the TweetMeme team "will be assisting Twitter with the technical challenges involved with the button", for which it has likely faced many. TweetMeme had recently grown to share more than 750 million daily retweet button impressions. Tweetmeme is recommending publishers use the official Twitter Tweet button, but is continuing to offer its button as well.