Wednesday, February 18, 2009 12:45 PM
Twitter is starting to test ways to put its real-time search front and center. It is just bucket-testing the change right now with a few randomly selected users, so you might not see it. But you should expect it to be rolled out to everybody eventually. The search and trend features, which currently exist on a separate page, are being placed on the home page of the test accounts.
Twitter's search technology comes from its acquisition of Summize, so its integration into Twitter is taking time. But it is a major plank of Twitter's business strategy. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone writes:
Searching over Twitter messages is like a filter for what is happening right now?it's an interesting look into the real-time thoughts of people and organizations around the world.
It is more than interesting. Real-time search is a potential game-changer. I tried to explain this in a post on Sunday, "Mining the Thought Stream". Here is the gist of that post:
What if you could peer into the thoughts of millions of people as they were thinking those thoughts or shortly thereafter? And what if all of these thoughts were immediately available in a database that could be mined easily to tell you what people both individually and in aggregate are thinking right now about any imaginable subject or event? Well, then you'd have a different kind of search engine altogether. A real-time search engine. A what's-happening-right-now search engine.In fact, the crude beginnings of this "now" search engine already exists. It is called Twitter, and it is a big reason why new investors poured another $35 million into the two-year-old startup on Friday. . . . For thoughts and events that are happening right now, searching Twitter increasingly brings up better results than searching Google.
By making search more central, Twitter will capture even more of those what's-happening-right-now searches. I wonder how many Twitter users right now even realize that you can search it. The search feature is not easy to find (it is a link at the bottom of the page). This is an obvious move. It will open up new ways to explore Twitter for users and train them how to do real-time searches on a regular basis.