Microhoo Deal Not the Only Piece of Significant Search News

    July 29, 2009
    Chris Crum

Yahoo and Microsoft intend for their freshly announced search advertising deal to be completed in early 2010. That’s not too far away, and in that deal, Bing will become the algorithmic search used by Yahoo. At that point, Bing becomes the clear competitor to Google in straight up search.

As Microsoft and Yahoo get the majority of the spotlight, however, let’s not overlook the fact that Twitter just redesigned its own homepage, and guess what it looks like…a search engine.

New Twitter Homepage with search

Industry analysts have been frequently citing Twitter’s real-time search as something of a threat to Google. Obviously, Twitter Search doesn’t begin to embody the essence of what Google search or any other traditional search engine has to offer, but it has highlighted the relevance of a new kind of search, and it is frankly just one that is lacking on those traditional engines. You can search Google or Twitter for topical information related to a news story, but you can always get the most recent discussion on Twitter. There are other real time search engines out there, but Twitter has the users.

Google has of course acknowledged that they need real-time search in their own mix, and it’s likely only a matter of time before that happens. Over the weekend, Matt Cutts pointed out that Google "keeps getting fresher." He pointed to a tweet that was indexed after an hour. That’s close, but not quite real-time.

Matt Cutts Says Google Getting Fresher

But back to Twitter. Lots of people know about Twitter search already. It’s not like it’s a brand new feature. However, you have to assume that lots of people don’t know about it too. At this point, you’re still lucky if someone you’re involved in a conversation with in the physical world even understands what Twitter is, let alone that it has a search feature, and that that search feature provides results in real time.

Twitter’s new homepage puts that search feature right in you face. 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.

Don’t get me wrong. There will still be plenty who don’t care, search engine or no search engine. But it will be interesting to see if more people begin to use Twitter for their searching needs. No, it’s not going to replace Google, but for some, it might replace Google for x-amount of their searches – the searches where a Twitter search makes sense (at least until Google offers real-time search).

Twitter’s new homepage is one of the interesting pieces in the search puzzle this year. And that puzzle is getting more interesting very quickly. Do you think Twitter will continue to play a more significant role in people’s search habits? Share your thoughts.