Many social networking Web sites have lots of bells and whistles. Sites like MySpace and Facebook let users build profiles, upload pictures, incorporate multimedia, keep a blog and integrate useful or bizarre programs into homepages. But one Web company with a very simple service is rapidly becoming one of the most talked-about social networking service providers: Twitter.

Twitter's history is entwined with a few other Internet companies. Twitter's founders are Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey. A few years before Twitter was born, Williams created Blogger, a popular Web journal service. Internet giant Google purchased Blogger, and Williams began to work directly for Google. Before long, he and Google employee Stone left the Internet giant to form a new company called Odeo.

Twitter founders, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey
Kara Andrade/AFP/Getty Images
Biz Stone (left) and Jack Dorsey are co-founders of San Francisco-based Obvious, the 10-person startup behind the popular Twitter social messaging service.

Odeo is a podcasting service company. According to Williams, he didn't have a personal interest in podcasting, and under his guidance, the company temporarily lost focus. However, one of Odeo's products was just beginning to gather steam: Twitter, a new messaging service. Stone gave Twitter its name, comparing the short spurts of information exchange to the chirping of birds and pointing out that many ring tones sound like bird calls [source: San Francisco Chronicle].

As the service became a more important part of Odeo, Stone and Williams decided to form a new company with Twitter as the flagship product. Williams bought out Odeo and Twitter from investors, then combined the existing company and service into a new venture called Obvious Corporation. Jack Dorsey joined the team and began to develop new ways for users to interface with Twitter, including through computer applications like instant messaging and e-mail. In March 2006, Twitter split off from Obvious to become its own company, Twitter Incorporated.

Sign up to get your free Twitter guides