Microbloggers can now directly upload their photos into Twitter and post them in their stream without having to use a third-party photo hosting service.

“All users can now easily share photos on Twitter.com. Add an image to your Tweet using the camera icon,” said Twitter in an August 10 post on its @twitter account.

The camera icon is located on the lower left hand side of the new tweet box, right next to the compass icon.

While Twitter claims the service is native, photos are actually hosted on image hosting service Photobucket.

By the looks of it, Twitter is planning on making a serious entry into the image search business and the uploader is just one of many steps in that direction (the company recently rolled out a video and image search feature too).

The social network plans to use the uploaded photos to create online media galleries “which will let you see the images a user has shared on Twitter.”

The new media galleries will include photos Twitter users have shared using Twitter’s new image uploading service as well as images that have been shared in the past from services such as Twitpic, yfrog and Instagram.

These images will appear in a Twitter search unless a users has a protected account - in which case the images can only be seen by followers.

“If you don’t want anyone to see your images on Twitter, you should delete the Tweets containing these images,” advises Twitter on a support page for image uploading.

The feature has already been switched on for some users and should be available to all users over the next couple of weeks.  

Watch this video to see the uploader in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmB15ER3LUQ