Late Thursday night Twitter’s Personalization and Recommender Systems Chief, Pankaj Gupta, tweeted, “Search & discovery in @twitter set to change forever after tmrw.” What were these big changes for Twitter that Gupta was referring? According to Mashable, these changes can fall into three categories:
1. Twitter’s slow and primitive search feature has finally been updated to work a lot closer to Google’s instant-like guessing. The new search autocomplete will guess the most likely terms for your entry as you type, and let you select one of the choices from a drop-down menu before you finish typing. How does this help us PR people? Well, besides making our lives easier, it’s especially helpful for trying to follow the hashtag for an event or conversation, according to engineer Frost Li on the Twitter blog. In addition, search autocomplete will also now correct your spelling for common search terms with similar letters.
2. What’s more? Twitter is now more useful when searching for terms, hashtags and accounts. Again, this is a benefit for PR people trying to follow a trend, conversation or hashtag for a client. Now, if you search for a hashtag, which may also be associated with multiple different terms, the search “will provide relevant suggestions for terms where the majority of that conversation is happening on Twitter,” said Li.
3. Lastly, instead of being forced to scroll through irrelevant accounts and tweets to find what you are searching for, the new search function allows you to narrow it down to “click on tweets from people you follow.” In other words, if you want to, this function now allows you to search only among your direct group of connections on Twitter.
Is anyone else thinking, “Well, about time!” Until now, Twitter’s search function was so poor, I often turned to Google to search for accounts and topics on Twitter! Hopefully after these changes, I will stop having to leave Twitter to search for something on Twitter, just to go back to Twitter once I have found it. Sound convoluted? It was! Let’s hope these changes make our lives easier!