The New Twitter.com & its Implications on Search

Now, I know that not all my friends are convinced by Twitter and the value it can offer its users but one thing is certain, with over 145 million registered users, it isn’t going anywhere. So, as many of you may be aware (from many Tweets & blog posts) Twitter revealed to the world last week that it will be rolling out it’s first major redesign of Twitter.com. There have been alot of mixed initial thoughts on the new design e.g. it’s long overdue, it ruins the simplicity of Twitter and there is a risk of increased spam. If you missed all the recent hype then here’s a quick summary of the main changes to the site:

Bye Bye Old Cluttered Sidebar

The old sidebar has been replaced with a wider pane on the right hand-side which offers more detailed information on a selected user from your stream. Information such as previous tweets, follower and following details and geo information is now clearly aggregated here, all acting as a type of mini profile page.

The Stream

The left pane on the site will still feature your tweet stream which will now allow you to select tweets to display further information on the user or tweet e.g. tweets consisting of multimedia links will automatically be displayed in the right pane, allowing users to view videos and images within the same tab (ultimately increasing the time spent on the site). The stream will also now scroll down indefinitely, so that users don’t have to repeatedly click “more tweets”.

Search

The search bar has been moved from the sidebar and is now centred at the top of the page but that’s not all that’s happened to search. Search results can now be filtered to view solely “tweets with links” and “tweets near you”.

These small changes are what will make Twitter a potential threat to the likes of search giant Google and other challengers such Yahoo! As the userbase of Twitter grows ever more, the number of informative tweets will do so as well. This means that the amount of user recommended information/links that Twitter gathers on any given topic or subject will be pretty significant. Being able to filter the data in this way cuts out all the general chatter (noise) that people love to do on Twitter. This enables users to retrieve a plethora of user information (recommended by people) on subjects such as the iPhone, and current affairs e.g. natural disasters in real-time. I’m not a search expert but personally as a user, I would be more inclined to use a service like this over a search engine that uses crawlers to automate results using a variety of keyword queries (which as a result of paid search always seems to return e-commerce sites!).

Here is a screen shot of what the new Twitter Search will look like with the filtering tabs:

(Image courtesy of The Next Web)

I think this is something that will take time to be 100% efficient but Twitter already has over 55 million tweets a day so I’m sure it won’t be too long before more people realise the value it can offer them.

So essentially Twitter will act as a crowd sourced search engine with reliable links that have been read and recommended by real people. On top of that, they can also be localised.

Business Opportunities

In addition to the advantages mentioned above I think that the new look will offer companies and brands the opportunity to promote themselves in a way that they do using Facebook pages. This can be done using the new information pane situated on the right hand side of the screen. According to Inside Facebook Twitter has struck a deal with a handful of companies (a mixture of publishers and retailers) allowing them to publish content from their company websites into this information pane. I believe that this agreement has the potential to evolve into a revenue sharing partnership between Twitter and retailers, especially if Twitter factors in the ability for a consumer to purchase goods directly from Twitter.com. This may be some time away but could definitely be a new revenue stream for Twitter.

I personally cannot wait to get access to the new site, which is currently only available to those in the U.S. It’s going to have a huge impact on the Twitter experience through the browser (watch out third party desktop apps) and as a result is highly likely to increase the time spent on the site, both very good for Twitter’s monetary value. Ultimately this new experience should also increase the number of registered users, which I guess is what Twitter hopes. So what do you think of the new design and features announced by Twitter? A big step forward or all hype? Just in-case you missed it, I’ve included the short video created by Twitter giving you a sneak peak of the new site. Let us know what you think in the comments.

YouTube Preview Image

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2 Responses to The New Twitter.com & its Implications on Search

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