Twitter Search is Going 2.0

twittersearch3Twitter Search is one of the most critical tools in my research arsenal.  At times, it’s much more useful than the mighty Google, especially when it comes to checking the pulse of a developing story or trend.

But it’s often difficult to wade through the deluge of tweets generated by a Twitter Search and make sense of the chatter.

That could be changing soon.

CNET’s Rafe Needleman, among others, recently spoke to Twitter’s Santosh Jayaram, the new VP of operations, and reported yesterday on two pending Twitter Search features that could make the tool much more useful:

…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.


Twitter Search will also get a “reputation” ranking system soon, Jayaram told me. When you do a search on a “trending” topic–a topic that is so big it gets its own link in the sidebar–Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank the search results in part based on that.

No word on when these new features will go live. In the meantime, this begs a few questions:

  • When Twitter starts indexing URLs, how will Google respond?
  • How will Twitter Search determine the “reputation” of a user? By their number of followers or retweets? Needleman reports the decision is still in the works, but it’ll be interesting to see if users find ways to game the system.
  • Since Twitter plans to index links, will the new search also include a tool similar to Backtype Connect, which tracks the Twitter conversation around any given link? (A very useful tool for PR, by the way.)

What do you think? What will happen when Twitter Search goes 2.0?


6 Responses

  1. big fan of this post and news. i use search several times a day, and your’e right about it being more useful than google at times, which all sorts of mind-blowing.

    to me the most interesting thing here is the ability to crawl and index urls. this will be huge because the individual tweets themselves are limiting and only give a partial view of topics-at-hand. basically i see search/twitter getting even more refined and becoming increasingly resourceful.

    the reputation thing is a mystery. not sure how they’re going to write algorithms for that! ;)

    thanks, mike! awesome first post!

  2. Great subject for your first post. I’m a bit leery about how folks will be “ranked”. I’m not fond of all that, anyway. Those of us who actually interact and don’t have tens of thousands following us are every bit as reputable as those who do. Look out, google, here we come!

  3. @dwendland. I think you’re right: there are big things in store for Twitter Search. It could be such a lucrative tool for them as they continue to improve it. Thanks for the the comments.

    @goaliemom31 I’m also a bit skeptical of the ranking system and will be interested to see how they make sure it’s fair. And I agree that just because you don’t have 10,000 followers doesn’t mean you aren’t offering up useful comments. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Nice first post! I hadn’t heard about this, but it sounds like it’ll make Twitter search a lot more useful. I’m also interested to see how Google responds, and I echo the concerns above about how rankings will factor in – because you know users WILL figure out a way to game the system, whatever it ends up being.

    Thanks for mentioning Backtype Connect, too. Hadn’t come across that before, and it’ll be a nice addition to my search arsenal :-)

  5. The Twitter trending info on the right panel only began showing up on my Home page last week, but seems like they’re doing a lot behind the scenes these days. I imaging new Twitter Search is but one of the changes we’ll see in the near future.

    I also saw a Firefox app (they have names for those, but I am thinking of iPhone “apps”) some random person created (ah, open source) that worked with Google search so that when you did a search in Google, it also showed Twitter results at the top like it does for vids, images, etc. It was really neat looking though I didn’t try it since I don’t use Firefox (too slow). Commenters to his app wondered why/when Google might integrate Twitter into its search engines itself! :-)

    Thanks for the engaging post!

  6. @Jes Agreed, this is only just the beginning. And it’s fascinating to think about how Google and Twitter might collide, isn’t it? Thanks for mentioning the app that embeds Twitter search results in Google. It’s actually a Greasemonkey script, which is basically geek speak for app.

    For you Firefox users, you can get it here:

    If you’re not familiar with Greasemonkey, you can learn more here:

    @BanannaC10 You’re right: it’s probably not a matter of *if* users game the ranking system but *when.* And to what degree?

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