Twitter Search Gets a Makeover



Aren’t makeovers fun? They are meant to make something that needed a little work that much better. It takes something that is a little lacking and makes it special.

Well, many would agree that one of the areas that Twitter needs a little help is search. Today, following the rather exuberant tweet of one of the company’s key employees, Pankaj Gupta yesterday, Twitter unveiled the search changes that led him to urge his fellow Twitter folks on with “congrats and enjoy the enormity of ur impact few understand today!”

OK, based on what was announced today count me amongst the many. The Twitter blog says

Search autocomplete shows you the most likely terms for your query as you enter it — especially useful if you’re trying to follow the hashtag for an event or you’re looking for a certain Twitter account. You can select your query from the drop-down menu even before you finish typing it.

After you enter your search, you’ll find the most relevant Tweets, articles, accounts, images and videos for your query. We’ve also made several other improvements to make your search experience better.

Spelling corrections: If you misspell a term, we’ll automatically show results for your intended query.

Related suggestions: If you search for a topic for which people use multiple terms, we will provide relevant suggestions for terms where the majority of that conversation is happening on Twitter.

Results with real names and usernames: When you search for a name like ‘Jeremy Lin,’ you’ll see results mentioning that person’s real name and their Twitter account username.

Results from people you follow: In addition to seeing ‘All’ or ‘Top’ Tweets for your search, you can also now see Tweets about a given topic from only the people you follow when you select the ‘People you follow’ view. Viewing Tweets about a topic from just the people you follow is a great way to find useful information and join the conversation.

This is all good (especially the ability to search only among folks you follow and the real name feaure) but the one thing missing from all of this is the capability to search deeper into the Twitter archives than the current week or so. Is this nitpicking? Maybe. But search often has an implied call for something historic, something that already happened rather than searching something that just happened.

When Twitter finally figures out a way to provide a true historic record of all tweets in a search result format then there will be something to really talk about regarding Twitter search. Until then it’s a lot of hype for a nominal gain.