feb 26

Twitter Search

I've been thinking this too: Twitter = YouTube. The argument: YouTube is now the second-most-popular search engine and Twitter Search (as we've previously mentioned) has immense potential to become the next big thing in search. Small prediction: Twitter hasn't released any new features in a long time, but the next thing we'll see is a fancy new search feature (geo stuff? retweet/favorite filters? something....) that includes a revenue model. (More info: Borthwick had similar musings about Twitter Search a couple weeks ago.) Update: more context from Honan in the comments.


They're certainly not just sitting around over there counting their money, right? Greg Pass has been onboard running engineering and ops for nearly a year now, and you have to think that he's up to more than just troubleshooting.

Twitter really needs to reposition its image around search and that (near) real-time information flow, getting away from "what are you doing" and moving towards "what's happening." It's a subtle but important distinction.

According to Dorsey, when Twitter started out (and did you know it was almost called "Twitch"? See below) there wasn't even a prompt for the text box. You just entered your status and that was that. They added "what are you doing" to make it more understandable and usable, but it seems like once it escaped the realm of early adopters, that question has been a distraction that's kept people from really getting it. It's what led to the eternally dumb "why do I care what someone is doing" question. (Think how silly that question would sound as "why do I care what's happening?")

And I think you're spot on with geo stuff. They could hit search out of the park if you could do geo-tagging and filtering by tweets--so that instead of just filtering by someone's profile location it could filter by the location of where someone is when they post. For example, even when I'm posting in LA, my Twitter profile still reads San Francisco and my tweets are filtered thusly when someone does an advanced Twitter search. Twinkle already adds this layer and then does filtering by posting location, and it seems like a natural for the service overall. Of course it means that tweets need to be geotagged first.

Where that gets interesting is in a situation like Mumbai, or Galveston, or some other localized event where you want to find out what's happening on the ground in real time directly from the people experiencing it. You want to weed out people who might be based in said location but aren't actually posting there at the moment, while including people who are based elsewhere but happen to be in the area for the event. Obviously phones can already make this happen with mobile posting, while stuff like Loki is increasingly bringing it into the browser.

And of course that also gives Twitter, the company, yet another layer of data to offer up for mining--not just real-time status but also real-time location--to marketers and others who might be able to help them earn a buck.

Twitter really needs to reposition its image around search and that (near) real-time information flow, getting away from "what are you doing" and moving towards "what's happening." It's a subtle but important distinction.

Finally, back to Twitch, this is from an interview I did with Jack Dorsey (that never ran) where he talks about where the name Twitter came from:

"We wanted something that really spoke to the action," says Dorsey, "and we came up with Twitch--because the phone kind of vibrates and twitches when you receive a message -- but you know Twitch doesn't really bring up the greatest images. So we looked in the dictionary around Twitch and discovered the word Twitter -- short bursts of information; chirps; inconsequential bursts of information."

Sorry for the post-length comment. I blame the double americano.

posted by mat at 1:00 PM on February 26, 2009

Lead engineer there indicated that per-tweet lat/long support will be rolling out in 2009.

That and the also-imminent offering of a "firehose" stream of all tweets should really facilitate the geo stuff envisioned here.

posted by Striddy at 9:24 PM on February 26, 2009

Still think this makes more sense for Google to snatch up.

posted by taulpaul at 11:28 PM on February 26, 2009

i m so much interested about twitter

posted by jesminakhter09@yahoo.com at 11:05 AM on February 27, 2009

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