Twitter is always making news. Now they are putting together a robust search service that may help them get that news out faster and more efficiently than Google itself. Rafe Needleman over at cnet put together a report shortly after speaking directly to Twitter’s new VP of Operations, Santosh Jayaram, who was VP of Search Quality for Google until recently (remember the talk about Googlers leaving the mothership?). The ‘leak’ of Twitter’s new search plans leaves plenty of room for speculation so let’s go!
Speaking (with LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue) on a panel I was moderating, and later in a one-on-one discussion, Jayaram confirmed that Twitter Search, which currently searches only the text of Twitter posts, will soon begin to crawl the links included in tweets and begin to index the content of those pages.
Holy Potential Game Changer, Batman! The idea that a search engine could be more ‘real time’ and in essence more people powered will be very attractive to the social media set. As Twitter’s user numbers go through the roof then the idea of how this could influence people is pretty interesting to say the least.
Looking even more into the future of Twitter search Jayaram talked of having a reputation ranking system in place soon. Jayaram said
When you do a search on a “trending” topic (a topic that is so big it gets its own link in the Twitter.com sidebar), Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank search results in part based on that.
This kind of offering could certainly up the ante for anyone looking to possibly acquire Twitter. Google obviously would like to own a direct threat to their model while a company like Microsoft could feel pretty excited about really getting in the game via a Twitter acquisition.
Of course, all of that remains to be seen. Many will not like the idea of Twitter being run by anyone other than Twitter. Freedom has its merits especially if there is real revenue potential through ads on Twitter search.
To wrap up, here is a story that may someday be part of the Twitter company lore as it exhibits the real time capability of the service.
Jayaram told of being in the Twitter offices in San Francisco on March 30, when the Twitter engineers noticed that the word “earthquake” had suddenly started trending up. They didn’t know where the earthquake was. Several seconds later, their building started to shake. The earthquake had been in Morgan Hill, 60 miles south of San Francisco, and the tweets about the shaker reached the office faster than the seismic waves themselves.
Embellished? Who knows? It sure does make one think though doesn’t it?