It’s no secret that third-party apps and clients are popular for Twitter users. And it looks like they’re in for some major competition from Google. No the search giant isn’t building its own Twitter client—it’s just bringing you all the functionality you’d expect from one.
Last October, Google announced a real-time search deal with Twitter. Or, really, the stuck a few Twitter results into semi-relevant search results. They’ve added a scrolling update display, but research suggests real-time search isn’t useful to searchers. Just two days ago, Google announced Twitter replay to take a historical view of tweets. And within hours of that announcement, they added a Follow Finder to . . . well, help you find people to follow.
Google Follow Finder looks at the people you’re following and uses public social graph information to find other users who follow those same accounts, then recommend other people those users are following. They also find people with similar follower lists.
Google built Follow Finder on Twitter’s @anywhere framework, announced last month.
All right, we can all admit Google’s probably not going to be challenging any third party apps for daily usability any time soon. Their offerings remain an auxiliary anomaly. The replay feature aligns well with their search mission, but the Follow Finder is another foray deeper into social media, which could indicate that their focus on Twitter may be more than just employees’ 20% time.
What do you think? What will Google’s next Twitter feature be? Will they ever have enough features to compete with full-fledged third-party apps, or will their offerings always bee use-specific?