One of the worst things about some of the largest social networks is that they have a crappy search engine. In most cases, whenever people are trying to find a friend or a business page on Facebook for instance, they search it on Google which is absurd when you think about it!
And while the folks at Facebook might endure this giant loss of ad serving exposure (at least for the time being), Twitter decided it want to take back into its own platform all those millions of Twitter-related searches which feeds the Google monster.
After Twitter’s top engineer Pankaj Gupta has built the tension and anticipation (“Search & discovery in Twitter set to change forever”), Frost Li from the company’s Search and Relevance team has announced on Twitter official blog about major improvements to Twitter’s search that will make it much more relevant.
The big question is if it will be a change good enough to keep users on Twitter for search. Let’s try to find out.
The first big upgrade is search autocomplete which will offer search query suggestions as the user types from a drop-down menu. When the user begins typing a search term, Twitter’s search algorithms will identify and display the most popular terms, Tweets and accounts for what’s been typed so far.
Even though the autocomplete ability is a fantastic search function addition I think it still missing one thing- Personalization. Suggesting search terms which also relies on the user’s own personal history and details can increase significantly the search efficiency and will reduce the time spent for search.
But Twitter did presented a new other search feature for personalization. After a search has been made, it would be possible to filter the results only for “people you follow”. That is actually an incredible new capability which will help users to find what people they follow are saying about specific topic.
For example, if a user would like to know what the people he/she follows are thinking about Google’s intriguing new mobile feature Google Now which presented recently, he/she can just search for the term “Google Now” and choose to display results only from the people he/she follows. Super-useful.
Twitter also added few more nice search features: Auto-spelling corrections, related terms suggestions bar and the results will include both real names and usernames.
Overall, this is a huge jump in Twitter’s search experience and I for once going to use Twitter search much more often as I’m sure many other people would do the same. The losers from this upgrade are Google that would lose many searchers which will shift to Twitter and Facebook that its search engine would now look even more pathetic than before.