Friday July 6 was an exciting day for twitter users. After a twitter engineer took it to the blogosphere on Thursday to tease the incoming updates to Twitter’s built-in search feature, the popular social media company officially broke the news on Friday. Twitter aspired to simplify its concept and make its search function look better and more organized on the latest and most advanced computers, laptops, smartphones etc. Admittedly, the new updates did not feature the groundbreaking and revolutionary changes lauded by the anonymous twitter engineer. This is not to say that the updates were not fundamental for Twitter’s standards.
Twitter’s built-in search feature was widely considered to be lacking. Small mistakes in spelling meant no results and a lot of frustration for its users. The latest changes are meant to improve the Twitter experience by providing new functionality and organization to the Twitter’s search feature. The new updates include an autocomplete feature that is programmed to guess and complete what users are typing into the Twitter search bar. Other new features complement this function with recommendations for related twitter accounts, tweets, images, videos and other content posted by users. The highlight of the new updates is the ability to restrict searches to only those accounts that a user follows. Many users will be fortunate enough to feel the new features right out of the gate. Twitter is planning to make the features available across the board within a month. Reinforcing its search engine with simple yet well-organized features, Twitter hopes to enhance its search engine services and come closer to what its competition offers.
Does Twitter actually have a chance to compete with Facebook and Twitter on an equal footing? Needless to say, Facebook and Google sport formidable search engines that have been honed non-stop through the years. According to Alexa Rankings, Google currently tops rankings as the most-trafficked site in the world and Facebook takes the number two spot. Twitter needs to up its search engine game if it wants to climb up the ladder from its number 9 spot. The latest attempt is definitely a step in the right direction. There is a good argument to be made that if Twitter supplements its new features with a few more treats, it might be able to deliver the latest news and developments to its users before Google’s search engine.
The blogosphere commentariat is also speculating on how Twitter will utilize its new features to display third party mobile advertisements. Having an autocomplete function might limit advertising opportunities and many are curious to see how Twitter will handle this issue. There is very limited information on what Twitter’s advertisement strategy will look like and observers will have to wait and see. Finally there is the issue of the third-party Twitter applications. Will Twitter grant third-party developers access to the new features? Following Twitter’s recent decision to diminish its relations with third-party app developers, many are very skeptical of such a possibility.