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Breaking Down Twitter’s New Homepage

Huge emphasis on search and trend analysis

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On Tuesday, we told you about the launch of Twitter’s new homepage. The revamped design sports a sleek look that is pretty easy on the eye. But, once you get past the pleasing aesthetics, you’ll also see that Twitter has added a search capability and popular topics, which in turn could mean an influx of Twitterers.

It should be noted that most Twitterers won’t ever see the new homepage, unless they logout of course. But, the new layout isn’t for the "everyday Twitter user", it’s meant for the non-tweeting crowd, or those that don’t see the use for it. Recently, WebProNews featured an article, "The Average American Still Unfamiliar With Twitter", which discussed this very topic. It seems as though Twitter hopes the new homepage will help herd in some of the non-Twitter users.

Do you think the new homepage will help get new users? Tell us.

Twitter Search – Is Twitter competing with search engines now?

Twitter's New Homepage Search

With Twitter’s inclusion of search, on the homepage, they’ve now made Twitter useful… even for those who refuse to tweet. WebProNews’ Chris Crum wrote an article about this very topic, and here’s his take on what might happen with Twitter search:

"When a new user comes along to discover Twitter for the first (or even second or third) time, they’ll see that search box. They’ll say to themselves, "What is this? I thought Twitter was just some pointless way to tell people what I am having for breakfast. It’s a search engine now?" Then they will start to understand that there is more to gain from Twitter than what they previously thought."

You might be asking, "What is the big advantage to a Twitter search versus, let’s say Google?" The answer is simple. With Twitter, you get real-time results (which is the next big thing in search). Twitter even highlights this aspect on the new homepage with the following header:

Twitter header

But, don’t think for a second that Google doesn’t know they’re late to the party, in regards to real-time search. Google’s own Larry Page has even stated:

"I have always thought we needed to index the web every second to allow real-time search.  At first, my team laughed and did not believe me.  With Twitter, now they know they have to do it.  Not everybody needs sub-second indexing but people are getting pretty excited about real-time."

Will Twitter be able to lure some searchers away from Google? Let us know what you think.

Trending Topics… umm… I mean Popular Topics

Twitter's Popular Topics

By now you’ve probably noticed that Twitter has added "popular topics" to the homepage. But, these aren’t your everyday, profile page, trending topics. With these you can now see what’s popular right now, today and this week.

If you’re still unclear what the popular topics are about, Twitter offers the following description :

"Twitter looks at every incoming tweet, then ranks the popularity of certain words or phrases in real time. Click any of the popular topics below to see what people are saying about them right now."

The new popular topics, coupled with search, seems to be a strategy that Twitter is employing hoping it leads to new users. @Biz had the following to say about this on the Twitter blog:

"…demonstrating the power of Twitter as a discovery engine for what is happening right now through our Search and Trends often awakens a sense of wonder which inevitably leads to a much more compelling question, "How do I get involved?""

What are your thoughts about the new "Popular Topics"? Tell us.

Popular Topics / Search Results Pages

Twitter Popular Topics

Let’s say you want to see why "Apple Claims New" is a popular topic, so you click it. You’re then taken to a re-vamped results page, with an added element. Twitter now displays a description of why the topic is popular.

Twitter header description

This new description will come in very handy when those odd terms creep up into the popular topics. Below, you can read Twitter’s description of this new addition:

"Twitter looks at every incoming tweet, then ranks the popularity of certain words or phrases in real time. Click any of the popular topics below to see what people are saying about them right now. Some topic descriptions are sourced from What The Trend."

Besides the new description, the results pages are pretty much the same… but they do sport the new updated design. I do wish Twitter would’ve incorporated the FriendFeed sort of ajax auto-refreshing thing they do, that could be turned off and on, of course. (It should be noted that the search results pages look identical.)

Do you find the new descriptions helpful, or distracting?
Let us know.

Twitter’s New Search Tips

Twitter's Search Tips

Upon clicking a popular topic, or doing a search, you’ll notice a new feature in the column, a "Search Tip". Sure, these tips aren’t anything to write home about, but they do highlight some of the underused search operators. I’ve included a few examples of them below:

"Use source: immediately before a particular Twitter source (like a desktop or mobile app) to find tweets posted via that client. Example: weather source:tweetie will find tweets containing "weather" and entered via Tweetie."

"Use :) to find tweets with a positive attitude. Example: movie :) will find tweets containing "movie" with a positive attitude".

"Use until: immediately before a specific date to find tweets sent before and until that date. Example: ftw until:2009-07-16 will find tweets containing "ftw" and sent until date "2009-07-16" (year-month-day)."

Do you currently use any Twitter search operators? Tell us.

Twitter’s Sign up Page

Twitter's sign up page

Twitter’s sign up page is probably my biggest complaint with the new design. Why didn’t Twitter update the sign up page with the new look? Isn’t this page the most important to them? It’s the one that brings in the new users.

The sign up page seems very dull and boring when you compare it with the new look. They could’ve at least changed the color scheme to match, but maybe since this page is working well for them, they didn’t want to change it. Personally for me, it feels very disconnected from the new modern look they got going on.

Should Twitter update the design of the sign up page? Tell us.

More Work Ahead

Even though the new Twitter homepage looks great, @Biz is quick to add that they still have a lot of work to do:

"We have a lot of work to do when it comes to the quality of our search results and trend analysis but repositioning the product to focus more on discovery is an important first step in presenting Twitter to a wider audience of folks around the world who are eager to start engaging with new people, ideas, opinions, events, and sources of information.

We’ll likely continue to make changes to the Twitter home page as we respond to feedback and ideas. We’re eager to see if encouraging a sense of wonder and discovery leads to a better first impression of Twitter."

What are some changes you would recommend for the Twitter homepage? Let us know.

Breaking Down Twitter’s New Homepage
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  • http://www.blogspot.com Quinn McQuay

    Wow, what a thorough breakdown of the new Twitter homepage.

    Excellent post.

    • Tara Stackhouse

      I agree, the new layout really plays up Twitter as a search engine. Do you think that Twitter will become a major playing the the search industry? What is their market share?

      Very good article.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/theclickbankprofitsystemreview Clickbank Profit System

    Great in-depth information about what Twitter’s doing. I personally don’t know much about Twitter so I am learning everything I can about it. This is a great informative report!!!

    • Jeremy Muncy

      Glad I could shine some light on Twitter for you.


      Jeremy Muncy
      Follow me on Twitter twitter.com/jmuncy”>@jmuncy

  • http://lowercholesterolnaturallyinfo.com TINA

    Nice they redesign the homepage. This design looks very good indeed.

  • Guest

    Really good information, very in-depth.

    I’m tweeting this story on.

  • David Butler

    With the addition of search on the Twitter homepage you can see that there going full force into the search realm, but will they make it? All Google needs to do is develop some sort of real-time search and they easily have the search crown locked down.

    Twitter search is almost like a real-time pop culture search engine.

  • mark

    I like the new design, glad to see Twitter is going more toward search, maybe they’ll have longevity now.

  • http://www.phifoundation.org/cardiovascular-health.html Cardiovascular Health

    Twitter is relatively new and still is a work in progress. It was supposed to let others know what you are doing but many are using it for many other things like posting quotes. Some of the quotes and links are very interesting.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk Adam

    I really like the way they’ve moved towards using Twitter as a search base for news stories based on whatever – that really gives the non-user a reason to check the site out.

    It could very well involve into a full blown news search engine, then a web search.

  • http://mdssolutions.co.uk Web Design Darlington

    There’s a new Twitter Search Widget here as well.

  • http://www.lexolutionit.com Maneet Puri

    I dont think there is anything new for regular twitter users. This is only to luire in new users to try and join Twitter.

  • Tony Tony

    Twitter search = pop culture search engine

  • http://www.controldatainc.com Collection agencies

    I logged on and the new screen threw me off for a min.

  • David Henry

    As a non-twitterer but long=time observer of the wildly evolving search engine scene, Popular Topics struck me as perhaps importantly different from similar topic tracking by , e.g. Google. Twitter is focused on immediate, right-now communication that may have important consequences (e.g. as in the Iran election protests), even though most of its use emphasizes daily trivia. Given the immediacy factor, won’t the availability of a Popular Topics citation have a stimulating effect on the frequency of the topic, thus becoming a causative factor in popularity, not just a measurement? This is the uncertainty principle at work; if you measure it, you change it! This possibility makes me a little doubtful of results and certainly raises the potential for mischief and abuse by manipulation.

  • http://www.sciencelives.com ScienceLives

    It’s smart of Twitter to emphasize the trending topics/search aspect of the site, for those who still don’t see the use of Twitter. I log in for business, but on the side under trending topics I can glance quickly to see what’s happening in the world. Often it is something useless – like celebrity gossip or spam – but often it is breaking news of something happening in the world, or a new piece of technology. I just click to see from people’s posts what is up. I find that handy when I’m sitting at my desk and I’m not able to watch/listen to the news. So way to go Twitter!
    (in case anyone is interested I’m @sciencelives on Twitter)

  • http://www.latterkursus.dk/latterkonsulent.htm Latterkonsulent Ejvind

    It now looks like Twitter will really start getting attention, and soon we will see some kind of moneytizing strategy from them – such as ads and the likes on searchresults.

    Well, as a small business owner, I can certainly now see the benefit of using Twitter – thanks for the opportunity.

  • Guest www.handmadeinheaven.co.uk

    The new Twitter home page is great.

    www.handmadeinheaven.co.uk

  • http://www.culinaryschoolfinder.com Culinary School Finder

    Love the new look. Now, can they do something about the 50 million or so ‘view my XXX video’ spam accounts? I missed one while vetting my followers, and viola, my brand was (briefly) promoting porn… not cool.

  • Devon

    The most obvious recomendation I have for twitter is an additional friends menue where I can grow my general followers but also have a smaller group of people I can follow closer. We are trying to build relationships on here but we can’t with everyone. So if we can both grow our followers and build relationships it would be greatly appreciated. Close followers is the menu name I suggest.

  • http://eyeglassboy.com Eyeglassboy

    Do you think Twitter will replace Google as a search engine?

    Only if you are looking for a 140 character answer. In other words no, it’s the place to go for spam.

    • Jeremy Muncy

      No, I don’t think Twitter will replace Google as “the” search engine… but I do think Twitter has brought up a question that Google has to answer.

      Real-time search.

      As I stated in the article, Google’s own Larry Page has said that Google needs to address it.


      Jeremy Muncy
      Follow me on Twitter twitter.com/jmuncy”>@jmuncy

  • Rockman

    No. People like me who don’t use Twitter are looking for reliable, trustworthy sources not a gossip and PR channel. Real time search? Unless I care about what Ashton Kucher did 5 minutes ago I’ll rely on the major news bureaus. Twitter will survive only as long as VCs will pump cash into it otherwise I just don’t see gossip as a sustainable model. However, our company will use it as an ad and opinion manipulation channel for as long as its relevant.

  • http://www.seoeffect.net Turundus

    Hi,

    why is that about 80% of your newsletters are about Twitter? There are about 500 000 000 websites around and some of them could be useful and we don

  • http://www.ksoffice.net KSOffice

    I like the new design, good news?
    so our company make twitter

    Follow me on Twitter twitter.com/ksoffice” > @ksoffice

    Twitter is good!

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I mainly use Twitter to socially market my safety and security web site and I think the new search is a great idea! Thanks, Jeremy.

  • http://www.skinnyasap.com/ skinnybabe

    I’m a new beginner in using twitter, just want to know more about twitter. Thanks :)

  • http://www.homesolarpowersystems.org Solar power systems

    With its attractive looks and improved features the new version will surely attract the Twitterers and non-Twitter users. I am planning to use this new homepage in the future.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/thegurudominationblueprint Guru Domination Blueprint

    Great to know what Twitter is up to. Awesome report

  • http://www.aims.co.il/ Zvi Peretz Cohen

    Hi,
    I have using Twitter from its outset and already use the search function. It helps me pinpoint people who are interested in my subject. Keep following this great new tool.
    Yours,
    Zvi Peretz Cohen
    AIMS-Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies

  • http://www.adidasshoesoutlet.com cheap adidas shoes

    wow so nice

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