Have you ever used Twitter’s search function and been frustrated by the lack of relevant results? Yeah, me too; you’re not alone. But the microblogging service has upped its search game and made several necessary and helpful upgrades to its search functionality.
It all started a few weeks ago when Twitter began personalizing trending topics. Trending topics are now determined by a number of factors including users’ locations, who they follow and what they tweet. Luckily, if users want to view global or national trending topics, they can. Then on Friday, July 5, Twitter engineer Pankaj Gupta sent a tweet that teased the Twitterverse by suggesting that by the next day, Twitter search was “set to change forever …” And he was right. What Twitter has done is added significant improvements to what was previously a tedious, if not clunky search experience.
The first noticeable change with Twitter’s search is the integration of autocomplete functionality, much like Google Instant. This not only makes searching for a specific topic or user easier, but much faster, especially if you’re looking for a common term. Here’s an example:
But perhaps what Twitter has done that’s even more impressive than autocomplete is something Google’s been attempting to do for a few years: Create meaningful personal results. Now user queries aren’t just answered with standard results, they’re also answered with results from people the users are following. Personalized search has been a dicey affair in general. Google couldn’t get it right, Bing got close, but Twitter nailed it. Now, I’ll be able to find out which of the people I follow are talking about the things I’m interested in. This has the potential to lead to more engagement than ever.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Twitter pulled another trick out of Google’s playbook, too, and added the ability to give you the correct search results, even if you spelled something incorrectly. I’m very excited about this because this feature has saved me countless seconds in Google, and I’m sure it will save me a few on Twitter, too.
The only thing Twitter needs to do now is convince users to spend time on its website instead of TweetDeck or another third-party Twitter application.
Pictures from the Official Twitter Blog.