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Twitter Tweaks Search to Trim Tweet Mountains

Twitter Tweaks Search to Trim Tweet Mountains

Searching for terms, names and handles on Twitter may get a little easier for users with the network's latest round of upgrades. "These changes, although late in coming, are good changes and will help companies and individuals who are using Twitter for business development or information search," said Krave Ten's Nipa Shah.

By Rachelle Dragani
07/09/12 10:32 AM PT

Twitter has given its site an overhaul designed to simplify its search functions and provide users with suggestions when they're unsure of an exact handle or hashtag.

The site's upgraded search results will now more closely resemble those of a Google search. Now when users begin typing a search term, they will see an autocomplete dropdown box of suggested terms, or results with corrected spelling.

Users will also receive related suggestions for topics that might use multiple terms. When a user is searching for someone but doesn't know their exact Twitter handle, the site will now show results for both real names and user names.

In addition, Twitter users will be able to search only within the People You Follow category, providing the ability to weed out potentially irrelevant results.

The social network also enabled updates on Twitter for iOS and Android. On the mobile operating systems, users will receive related search suggestions, autocomplete and spelling corrections.

Step in the Right Direction

The upgrades to Twitter's search system are major improvements to a part of the site that has frustrated users since the social network's inception, said Nipa Shah, president of Krave Ten.

"These changes, although late in coming, are good changes and will help companies and individuals who are using Twitter for business development or information search," she told TechNewsWorld.

As the site grows in size and influence, any change that makes it easier to sift through information are a step in the right direction, said Renay San Miguel, chief content officer for Splash Media.

"They move Twitter incrementally closer to being a social network with heft and power rivaling that of Facebook," he told TechNewsWorld. "Anything that improves the user experience and keeps people within Twitter longer will help in that respect."

The site still has room for improvement, though, said Brian Carter, an Internet marketing expert. Twitter users still can't search within their own Tweets dating back to their first, a common frustration amongst longtime Twitter users. It's especially frustrating, said Carter, because the site has the potential to incorporate that function.

"When I first used Twitter, I thought search was a huge deal," he told TechNewsWorld. "But after they bought and integrated Summify and we found that you couldn't search all your Tweets all the way back, I was disappointed."

Twitter's Growing Up

Still, Carter acknowledged that the improvements are an important step for Twitter, and a much-needed one.

While it might not a game-changer for the site, it could be a sign that Twitter is ready to make some moves on its own and become one of the major players in the social networking scene, said San Miguel. With simplified search, the site most likely hopes that more users utilize the search functions, potentially adding revenue through the network's sponsored tweets that pop up with many searches.

In other moves to boost autonomy, Twitter recently ended its tweet syndication agreement with LinkedIn and has teased about improvements to the site's involvement with mobile and third-party development.

"This is a hint of more big changes coming down the pike for Twitter, and it may indeed be helping to set the stage for an IPO soon," said San Miguel. "Twitter's executives must be feeling very confident about things."

Twitter didn't respond to our request for further details.


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