Twitter destined to replace Google Search

In this post, John Goalby (@jgoalby) shares his vision for how Google search will be replaced as the number one search engine.

Presentation gone bad

Stealing a glance at her watch. Five minutes late. Almost there… Spilling her coffee over the carpet, she crashes in to the boardroom.

Senior management is in a quandary. Cassandra has the solution. It has taken every last ounce of her being for the past 3 weeks. Working feverishly night and day to complete The Presentation. The Presentation that will define her career. Her big moment. It needs to be perfect. Something went wrong.

Cassandra’s presentation is incomplete. How hard could it have been? Too hard it seems. All she needed was three simple photos. Rage rising in her mind as she thinks back to the stupid stock photo site. Finding herself drowning in an ocean of irrelevant photos was not Cassandra’s goal.

The major search engines fared no better. Cassandra took her half finished presentation into senior management – sink or swim.

Cursing the internet, Cassandra takes her seat at the massive board room table wondering if there could be a better way.

A guessing game

Search engines know little of context. They only know what content authors tell them. Search engines pride themselves on returning as many hits as possible, as quickly as possible. Users of search engines have to search for terms they think the original content author would have used.

In the case of stock photography, metadata is used to categorize a picture. The photographer does their best at anticipating characteristics their clients will want. For example, a photo that depicts a business man and a business woman in a presentation. Does the photographer also note that there is a projector showing a graph? The relationship of the two people? That the man has gray hair? The woman is wearing blue? Where does it end?

Blog posts have even less structure. Blog posts often provide amazing information. Generally the information consists of free-form posts with little regard for who the end reader is and how they will find that information.

Search Engine Optimization goes some way to adding structure, but it is lacking. Search Engine Optimization is geared towards categorizing using competitive key phrases. These competitive key phrases typically are not where people have trouble finding results. Search Engine Optimization after all is about getting to the top of the search engines for competitive key phrases.

Irrelevance

Search engines don’t understand, and frankly don’t care, exactly what their user’s need. A search engine’s primary goal is to return as many hits as possible in as short a time as possible.

By returning a large number of results, the user is reassured that what they want is in that result set somewhere, if only they could find it.

By returning results quickly, the user can spend all of their time sifting through them to find exactly what they want. But who really has time to sift through page after page of results anymore?

If relevance is critical to search engines, how come they return more than one page of results? If the search engine really understood what the user needed, 10 search results would be more than enough.

Cassandra shouldn’t need to be a Search Engine Ninja to get her job done.

Cassandra gets a second shot

Cassandra fires up her copy of TweetDeck. Her message: “@stockphotofindr I need images of the same 2 business people in 3 different work situations. By tomorrow morning! Please help!!”

Within minutes, Cassandra sees 7 responses to her request. There are examples of images and also requests for more information. Realizing that she was not specific enough, Cassandra refines her request: “@stockphotofindr One image needs to be a woman as a boss. Another with the man as a boss. Lastly the two working as a team.”

One photographer offers to take the pictures exactly as she needs them in time for her deadline. That photographer gets new clients based on the quality of his work and the quick turnaround.

This conversation is visible to everyone on Twitter. Each conversation builds on the others. This continued interaction is in stark contrast to the request-response formality of a search engine interaction.

Cassandra gets her three pictures. The Presentation goes well and she gets the promotion.

Twitter vs. Google

Google knows about that which has been written. People don’t always write blog posts on everything they know – but they do store that information in their heads, ready to help others that are going through the same pain.

Search engines have no personality and don’t engage in conversation. It could be considered an invasion of privacy if search engines used previous search information. There’s no such expectation from public conversations.

Search engines will always rule fact-based questions. There’s little reason to return more than one entry for these kinds of searches. After all there was only one First Place Winner of the Tour de France in 2008.

It may be said that you will get opinionated responses from Twitter. They are surely no more or less opinionated than blogs. In addition, the opinion can be addressed by other people listening in to the conversation.

The death of Google search?

Twitter (or its successor) will replace Google search for most people. These are people that don’t care about the search process. They care about the end result.

Google search will still provide a useful service to those with the time to discover solutions rather than pinpoint a specific need. These Search Engine Ninjas can provide their services to those using Twitter if they can find the answer quicker than the crowd.

Google will no doubt evolve their general search to incorporate Twitter-like functionality. Only time will tell how this will all unfold.

When will this happen?

It is happening right now. Twitter is growing. Many people are asking their questions of the crowd and getting good responses. As the membership grows, these responses will get better and better. New tools will evolve to help filter through the mass of data. Perhaps Google will be able to adapt their technologies to make filtering through this new ocean of data manageable.

Conclusion

Twitter is in effect a scalable, intelligent search engine with an amazing memory capacity. Twitter is capable of understanding natural language, dealing with ambiguity, and engaging in conversations – at least to the extent that people can ;-)

The crowd might not always have the answer for your problem, but they may point you in a new direction, or even create the answer for you. What people want will be visible for all to see.

As the web gets bigger it becomes harder to locate exactly what you are looking for. Search Engine Optimization may hinder finding information that does not revolve around a revenue stream.

As membership in Twitter grows, the more useful it becomes. Knowledge, experience, and skill will be added, one person at a time. People will benefit from connecting with each other to filter through the data and find the information they need. Relationships will emerge that will be more powerful than any allegiance to a search engine.

Make it so

Join Twitter if you haven’t already. If you are already using Twitter, start engaging with people. Answer their questions. See what people want. Pay attention. Twitter is not just a way to tell the world what you had for breakfast.

Next time you are having a hard time finding something on the web, notice the moment you start to get frustrated. When that frustration appears, take a deep breath, fire up your favorite twitter client, exhale, and ask the crowd.

Comments

  • March 5, 2009

    I cant imagine that Twitter will replace google for search. Twitter search is very specific whereas google search covers everything from blogs, news, images, videos and so on…

    Plus google wont let that happen. Google is a huge company with lots of money. It will be real interesting to see where Twitter will be 5 years from now

  • March 5, 2009

    Excellent post. I totally agree with the power of Twitter search. I wrote a similar post on this topic yesterday comparing Google search and Twitter search. Search: Google vs. Twitter

  • March 5, 2009

    Interesting take… a perspective I really have not thought of. This is why I subscribe to TwiTip :)

  • March 5, 2009

    I can see this. I also see Twitter replacing intra-net type communications in corps, with many off-site offices (and that is also happening.) I see it as a monetized, secure feature that companies could use for quick com and collaboration.

    You’re pt that Google is about what WAS and Twitter is what COULD HAPPEN is a salient one. One is static (research) the other creative (and collaborative)– which one would you want? Especially in these times?

  • March 5, 2009

    Replace? Please. At most it will complement it for a select group of people who will understand both Google and Twitter enough to find whatever it is they need to find.

  • March 5, 2009

    Someone created a GreaseMonkey script that incorporates the Twitter into your Google searches: http://mt-hacks.com/20090302-realtime-twitter-search-results-on-google.html

    :) Pretty neat idea. What you search for in Google, the script will display the top 5 most recent tweets about the keywords you’re looking for.

  • March 5, 2009

    I may be old fashioned, but as much as I like Twitter–replacing google is not in it’s future. Google is a search engine. Twitter is a communication device. Yes, you can find things on both–but one can not substitute the other. And there is nothing wrong with that. If twitter goes down the road of becoming a search engine, it will be abandoning it’s original purpose and going down the road toward death.

  • March 5, 2009

    Google will buy Twitter. :)

  • March 5, 2009

    I agree with Jeremy. I’m a big fan of Twitter but Google is far too powerful and established. Announcing its demise is a very premature attitude to reality. More than likely what will happen is Google will offer a more personal search facility where it actually probes a hive mind. Or they may produce their own version of Twitter to run on the side. (Or, despite the current nonsense, may actually buy them after all.)

    You also need to remember that while asking the Twittersphere the kind of question used in your example may produce a valid response, most queries work fine in Google. Even if you want opinion you can search for reviews and so on.

    I must admit I’ve never had a hard time finding anything on the web. I do think that many people still don’t really how to use Google properly (or any search engine for that matter).

    Google will never be replaced. Eventually it will kill us all. It’s Skynet. You heard it here first.

  • March 5, 2009

    I like what you are saying, but something which jumps to my mind is that someone without a huge following is less likely to get their “search” answered compared to someone with thousands of followers.

    There are people monitoring the stream as a whole for keywords, but what if they are not searching for your string you will get nothing without a large follower base.

  • March 5, 2009

    Nice title of this post, it actually got me to read it. But the content of the post leaves much to be desired. Sensationalism! Demise of Google! The Twitter against the Giant! Read all about it!

    And yet, Twitter is simply another tool in the information arsenal. You don’t think Google isn’t looking into new information models even as we type? Google has one of the best information business models out there, and uses the resources at its disposal–from the Net that it has tamed to the collective brainpower of its staff.

  • March 5, 2009

    Big thinking!

    A good example is @jobangels. They asked the community what would happen if everyone were willing to help just one job seeker. They put a question out to the world and all kinds of results came in. And fast! Their results would be more than generic had they done a search for this concept on Google.

    I also put questions out. Between LinkedIn Answers and Twitter, I have an amazing pool of people who are ultra-intelligent and giving.

  • March 5, 2009

    Hi, Google has the advantage of being uniform and unbiased in its results. Anyone can google results, not everyone gets quality contextual tweet replies. A lot of factors come into play; the quality of the followers, the reciprocration equation, time zones, etc etc. Twitter for all its merits is still very much a social popularity contest for many users. It’s intrinsically vain and as such cannot be relied on for consistent , “just cause im a nice guy” answers.

    We could run a simple litmus test and you would find drastic differences in replies for the same question. Depending on who’s asking, where and so on.

    I agree it presents much more context and relevance for many users, ( e.g The_real_shaq or Kevinrose ) but ask @average joe and i think he’ll take his google any day. (well, today at least)

    Melvin

  • March 5, 2009
    Matt Hooper
    @matthooper

    The thing for me is the ‘real-time’ aspect. I want my information ASAP after something happens, not a few hours later. I find Google doesn’t locate posts for several hours in some cases. While Twitter search may not replace Google search, the real-time aspect is something which I think Google will seriously need to look at as the web moves forward, and I’d be surprised if they aren’t working on it already.

  • March 5, 2009

    Interesting view but I don’t know if it is that obvious just yet. I’m also not sure if the growth of twitter will yeild better results or simply dilute the pond.

  • March 5, 2009

    A wee bit too idealistic.

    Both are equally important, google serving up the known, recently saved, the web and twitter serving up the near real time now, on the hive mind, what supposedly real folks are thinking about.

    I see room for both. Take away Google and Twitter alone is a pretty ineffective search engine. Take away twitter and well.. most people don’t really even see twitter as a contender on search so impact not as a bad. I use it for search myself though and I see what both engines bring to the table.

    The amount of bankable its there data in Google is vastly larger than what is bankable on twitter. Google covers the vast known language index where as Twitter covers the 140 character, fragmented speech index.

    They are really two different things, searching the web vs searching conversations.

    And how far back does twitter search go? Last I checked it only went back as far as 3 months worth of tweets thats not even comparable to Google’s memory.

    Casandara was lucky that..
    1. she had enough followers that were “there” at the right moment in time to see her inquiry and offer to help
    2. she had enough followers peroid
    3. her question resonated

    It’d be interesting to know who all on twitter follows the whole live feed of twitter vs just their followers/friends.

    Is twitter an up and coming search? Yes.
    Is it a viable near real time search engine of what the hive is thinking about? Sorta, yes.
    Does it replace Google search? Nope
    Should Google buy them? Probably but then they’d be a monopoly on search.
    Is Twitter a fad? Surely we all talked before the web ever arrived. Fad no. Evolutionary step yes.

    The last thought I have on all of this is the game factor. You really don’t address how both engines can be “gamed” for an effect. Gaming Google is a art for some people, manipulating results for an agenda, its big biz, and soon that big ass eye gonna turn its way to Twitter. Armies of the manipulation wave will soon be on your tweetside. Get ready for it.

  • March 5, 2009

    This is a brilliant post, I agree totally. I’ve installed the twitter search greacemonkey script and every search I run in google i chose the twitter results over the google results! Why? It’s always more relevant and up to date! I think this is the future of search!

  • March 5, 2009

    You have a point, but I disagree. Twitter or it’s successor take a while to find something. If someone uses Google correctly, the results are instant. Twitter might get some search traffic, but I do not plan on leaving Google for a loooong time.

    Thanks
    Nate

  • March 5, 2009

    Neil has a point. In order to get the response we need, either we have Quality twit-companions who’s kind enough to share the info/knowledgeable enough to answer/coincidently to be on the spot where we need them; Or we need to depend on Quantity (followers), hoping there’s a good Samaritan in the midst.
    Although I do agree, Twitter provides an extra choice when it comes to info-sharing. However, it’ll require some times before it’s reliable enough to take over Google, or any search engines for that matter. (although I do think big G would make the move much earlier than that)

    Yet again, who knows?

  • March 5, 2009

    I love it.

    Excellent story weave to make a point. Social searching – wow what a concept.

    I bet most faithful Twitter users can relate similar, if not smaller scale success stories.

    George

  • March 5, 2009

    Sounds plausible, but all of this reminds me of the work Mozilla Labs is doing on Ubiquity.
    http://labs.mozilla.com/projects/ubiquity/

    There appears to be a growing trend for natural language search. For example, try a natural language search on Google Maps. I think Google is moving this direction already. In my experience most people already use Twitter as a crowdsource search. Wouldn’t your search be better if you directed your search to all your Twitter followers instead of one specific vendor?

  • March 5, 2009

    LOL.. I can’t stop laughing reading that post title and I didn’t bother to read further down. Just because handful of companies got some success you can’t make that big a hypothesis.

    If that happens I “ll give up all my online ventures. :)

  • March 5, 2009

    Google has been around for quite along time and almost majority of internet users have gotten used to using it for searching online.

  • March 5, 2009

    Interesting points, but I don’t think Twitter will go as far as replacing Google search. It is definitely a strong tool that you can use to crowd source questions, requests, & news, but I believe the only way to do accomplish these things is if you have a strong following. That’s something I don’t think the average person is willing to invest time in just yet.

    Sure you can do searches on Twitter and find information on a variety of topics written by people that actually care about the subject. For that reason, I think twitter can compliment Google searches, but it will never simply replace it. Google is well established and still provides relevant information when you do a search. Granted that information is based on algorithms and not people and the results are only as strong as the keywords used, but its still an effective means for people to get info fast.

  • March 5, 2009

    What’s interesting is the similarities that can be drawn between the conversation that occurs on Twitter, and the search process that happens on Google.

    During the Twitter conversation, after she broadcasts what she needs she is presented with a number of options to explore that may not have initially been in her consideration set (different stock photo sites, and a photographer willing to take the picture).

    During a Google search, this same process often occurs as users are presented with options on the search engine results page (SERP), and refine their search.

    If you consider someone looking to take an extended trip around Europe, they may start with the search term “travel.” After seeing that the results are too broad, they may perform another search with the term, “european travel.” Then after seeing a result on the SERP advertising “European Travel Tours” the user may add the “tour” to their consideration set, and further refine their search terms.

    Although search engines don’t currently have any method for understanding the context of a search term, users will often times refine their queries after seeing a results page full of unrelated links, just as she refined her needs throughout the conversation on Twitter.

    The difference is that on Twitter, the refining process is interactive — that’s one very strong “feature” that you point out.

    The one incorrect fact in the article is: “A search engine’s primary goal is to return as many hits as possible in as short a time as possible.” This assumes that returning results that are relevant to the user’s search term is not important.

    A search engine’s primary goal is to return as many relevant results as possible, and rank them in the perceived order of relevancy. Search engines compete for market share (users & searches). If returning relevant results was not a concern, users would quickly find something else to hire that would suit their needs.

    You’ve got a great article here. Very well written, and it’s definitely prompting people to think about the disruptive capabilities that Twitter has. Great job!

  • March 5, 2009


    True. Very True.

  • March 5, 2009

    It’s also worth noting that unless you know enough about a given subject anyone, a real-time search/poll on Twitter is going to give you a lot of garbage, hidden amongst which might be the gem(s) you are looking for.

    You know, like a normal search.

    Just because it’s real-time and theoretically faster, doesn’t mean the results are any better. Indeed, chances are they’ll be worse, because for want of a better word: they’re not proven.

  • March 5, 2009

    Groan… ‘anyone’ should read ‘anyway’. I’d edit but the Ajax editor doesn’t work. Sorry.

  • March 5, 2009

    Although Twitter is hot now, but I don’t think Twitter will replace Google within a few years.

  • March 5, 2009

    Doubt this, it would might be a head to head comp, due to the fact that some people use google to get info so they can “tweet” in twitter.

  • March 5, 2009

    @Sheamus

    I agree to a point, but the people on twitter can have a conversation with you to help you narrow your search. Don’t forget I am not talking about people that live and breathe Google, just ordinary people that most likely are not on twitter yet.

    The best conversation you get with google is “Did you mean …” when you potentially misspelled a word.

    Google doesn’t present “proven” results. It uses a fancy formula that works for a lot of people searching for average things.

    I admit that the wisdom of the twitter crowd for searching is not proven, but it has the potential to supplant Google.

  • March 5, 2009

    I agree with Jermey and John.

    With a search engine like Twitter you are at the mercy of people who check your tweet and care enough to reply you back. And how long are you willing to wait to see your search results anyways ?

    If anything Twitter will compliment Google search.

  • March 5, 2009

    Sad, isn’t it, the way people insist on pitting unrelated companies and services against each other?

    Don’t delude yourself, Twitter, if you’re listening this ridiculousness. Search is search, a reliable system that can find what you’re looking for, not an army of monkeys at keyboards who just might be nice enough to give you what you’re looking for.

    Community is not the way to improve search at all. You’ll end up with unreliable results, trolling, and spam beyond belief. Semantic search is the way to go.

  • March 5, 2009

    Semantic search? I’m curious what you have in mind–the commercial efforts to date haven’t been overwhelming. I’m open-minded–in fact, I’m even presenting the New York Semantic Web Meetup tomorrow night. But I don’t see any of the “semantic search” contenders offering serious alternatives to Google and its struggling rivals.

    I think you are a bit too dismissive of community, but you’re right that any implementation of community (or any other means of enhancing information access) has to be spam-proof or it will be massively spammed. But consider that choosing whom to follow in a social network is spam-proof. More generally, user control of the user experience is a key aspect for any search or alerting tool.

  • March 5, 2009

    THE GOOGLE CRIES. Little rich boy SEARCH service, see http://overjobs.blogspot.com/2009/03/little-rich-boy-search-service.html

  • March 5, 2009

    Great point your trying to make, but your example is way off…

    Google image search is what I began building a new blog / twitter platform off of in December and the more I search for images via google the better I get at it, and the more rewarding… Copyright limitations on the use of images is making the internet white-washed with eye numbing text and that’s going to change rapidly, and not because of twitter…

    People who don’t put website address watermarks on their images and expect people to respect their copyright privileges / credit them are akin to people trying to sell blocks of Ice and bags of salt after refrigeration was invented.

    But more to the point when it comes to Twitter as a two way street of communication…

    Do you know how many responses I’ve gotten from Twitter users everytime I’ve asked a question over the past few months? Answer is zero! And maybe that’s because I only have a bit less than 400 followers, but come on…

    Twitter may the most essential tool to keeping my blog rapidly growing and for me getting the word out, but when it comes to reading what others post, when it comes to actually interacting with others its so incredibly shallow and trite that it’s almost a joke…

    I really try to listen on Twitter but it’s such a cacophony of everybody talking and no one listening that well… Less than 5% of the people I follow actually regularly produce content that is menaingful. And from SEO research I’ve found that even people with 5,000 followers are only get less than 1 or 2% of their followers clicking on the links they post.

    I think the twitter bubble will pop sooner or later, and we’ll realize that all the tech gurus on twitter have been overselling it’s value the same way mortgage brokers oversold, of course I trust Twitter won’t ruin the economy as bad as bad as the brokers did.

    And more to the point how much Twitter guidance is needed? I mean I’m flooded with people trying to tell me how to best use twitter and most all of them lack any kind of credible depth or sophistication in their presentation…

    I love twitter, but geez, how much bubble gum makes a decent nutritious meal?

    Long live the trees!

    Deane

  • March 5, 2009

    Twitter will solve all of the worlds problems and fill all our needs!
    So silly. I think you are using Twitter just a bit to much and need a vacation.

  • March 5, 2009
    Chaunna Brooke

    nice one! long live twitter! more power! http://www.thesiteflingmafia.com/

  • March 5, 2009

    Twitter isn’t going to kill anything; social networking as a whole will. I predicted this way back in 2007:

    “Instead of ‘Googling’ for something, we find stuff being sent to us as emails from friends, in our profiles, in a friends’ lists of favourites, or any number of user-generated websites, ‘blogs, RSS feeds, Social Networks and Social Media portals.

    While we’re busying ourselves voting and commenting on this stuff, we’re not using Google’s search algorithm, and we’re not clicking on Sponsored Links, either.”

  • March 6, 2009

    This is SO true. I always go to Twitter first with a question, then to Google. I hadn’t thought of it quite like this, but you make excellent points.

  • March 7, 2009

    Scams will arise in Twitter where people use hot key words and tools like TinyUrl to drive people to affiliate links.

  • March 7, 2009

    We still have to wait and see what happen withing the future of the storry.

  • March 7, 2009

    Sounds great. It would be really great if it happens like that. May be some of them will miss google

  • March 8, 2009

    The thread here regarding the merits of Twitter versus Google seems to pivot on the wrong point.

    The arugment should not be about information retrieval (no matter how intelligent) which Google rocks at — but how do we trust the information we are fed. It’s time we technologically build search to work the way we live in the real world. In the real world, when we need to know things, we go to our social networks first. Its fast, its reliable.

    Disruptive search technology will focus on how to tap and leverage this trusted network in real time, configurable ways across all our social networks; Twitter, Paltalk, Facebook et al. That’s why social networks – all of them – matter.

    But I am sure the smart folks at Google are on this — they are, after all, rumored to be looking at buying a few social networks.

    Even Google lives by the “if you can’t beat join ‘em” rule.

    Judy Shapiro
    Sr. VP, Paltalk

    Power to the people (Ok — I am a child of the ’70’s :)

  • March 8, 2009

    Why not combine the two using the Twitter Greasemonkey script.

  • March 9, 2009

    ROFL.

    Twitter runs an open API and there already 3rd party search services. Google will add a “Twitter” search just as it did Blog Search, Video Search and all the rest. They may buy Twitter, but they may not need to.

    >Search engines know little of context.
    Not true.

    >They only know what content authors tell them.
    Not true.

    >Search engines pride themselves on returning as many hits as possible
    Not true.

    >as quickly as possible.
    Yes but that is a technology/algorithm question.

    >Users of search engines have to search for terms they think the original content author would have used.
    Half true, search engines use alternatives too. But do you expect them to read your mind?

    >In the case of stock photography…
    See the research on auto image-interpretation going on for the last several years.

    >Blog posts have even less structure.
    Not true.

    >Generally the information consists of free-form posts with little regard for who the end reader is and how they will find that information.
    Generally bloggers are *intensely* aware if who the end reader is and how the will find that information. We are specialists in niches.

    >Search engines don’t understand, and frankly don’t care, exactly what their user’s need.
    Not true.

    At this point I gave up. Sorry, John.

  • March 9, 2009

    Matt, would it be worth writing a counter-point article to this one?

    I imagine a good many people reading this article might not be technically literate enough to be able to fill in all the blanks left by your “not true” replies…

  • March 9, 2009

    Maybe it would be worth doing a couterpoint, but most of it isn’t rocket science.
    I might do a list of references to articles.

    Thanks for your reply.

  • March 10, 2009
    Eloi

    The word ‘replace’ is ridiculous… At best it will complement. And I wouldnt be surprised if Google did something to disallow scripts like GM, as it effectively pushes its (and ppc) results down. At least in Chrome anyways.

  • March 10, 2009

    For the record, I never said that twitter search would replace google. I said that twitter is destined to replace google search.

    There is a lot of discussion about searching previous conversations. This is good, but not where the real power comes in. Judy hits it on the head. It is the social aspect. Google searching twitter archives is irrelevant. It is the crowd that matters.

    If you can already use google to find practically anything, then twitter replacing google search will not make sense to you. I am talking about the majority of people that cannot always find what they want with google. The same people that go to forums and post their question before searching the archives and reading 42 pages of posts before they ask their question. For them, they don’t want the chase, they want the answer. The same people that pay a computer repair company rather than look up the beep codes. Not everyone is tech savvy.

    For those of you internet marketers out there (@mattwardman), I realize that you are optimizing your blog content for being found. That is great when you can monetize it. When it is just general content with no specific niche, there really is little structure. People in general keep much more in their heads than they ever blog about.

    I agree that google will no doubt already have plans to thwart crowd sourcing of search. They had better not leave it much longer though.

    The greasemonkey script is interesting. What would be even more interesting is if the query was tweeted at the same time and the real-time results streamed into the web page. Also interesting if it would show the degrees of separation for the people answering the tweet in the case where the original tweet was RT’ed.

    Really interesting discussion on this post. I really appreciate the time everyone has taken.

  • April 22, 2009
    David G

    I just wish Twitter would fix their search engine so you can search before February 20, 2009. No matter how many times I ask them to fix this, they don’t seem to care.

  • August 22, 2009

    It’s an inevitability that Google will eventually incorporate a Twitter-like functionality into their current search results, because more people are starting to use Twitter than Google Search. I know I have and find real-time, verifiable results, instead of wading through multiple pages for something that doesn’t pertain to what I am searching for.

  • September 29, 2009

    I love twitter but to replace google I don’t know. I think someday google will buy twitter, probably right after they claim the moon for themselves.

  • November 28, 2009
    Pax

    Interesting article. You hit the nail on the head when comparing the language of each. Twitter is intelligent, it’s alive… Search engines are not.

    There is a problem with the logic here, however. You only need to spend some time at Yahoo Answers (a kind of hybrid) to see it. As twitter continues to grow, Cassandra might have been hit with 100 useless troll messages completely wasting her time. The 10 people who might have helped her could have been unplugged or lost in the noise.

    A few years ago people were saying that Wikipedia was going to be a Google killer (it is for a growing segment).

    I’m not sure how long you’ve been using the internet but a clear and quantitative process occurs with popular sites:

    1. The kids and trolls swarm it.
    2. Business and every get-rich-quick schemer overwhelms it with garbage.

    The first group wastes your time. The second group won’t even look at you unless you have a handful of cash and then they waste your time.

    Twitter needs to deal with these two groups better than everyone else has to this point. If it doesn’t, then Twitter will be much more like the real world than Google’s search and it losses before the fight even begins.

    Google’s ability to block out the useless ‘noise’ gives it a distinct advantage. It’s ability to include tweets as part of it’s search is another advantage (facebook dealt with it by closing it’s database to all search engines).

    As soon as the kids begin tweeting and business finds a way of exploiting twitter further, they may actually be fighting for their very existence.

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