woensdag 11 maart 2009

Twitter Could Bring Search Up to Speed

Technologie Review article

Some say that Twitter may be as important to real-time search as YouTube is to video.

When Twitter was introduced in late 2006, asking users to post a 140-word answer to the question "What are you doing?," many criticized the results as nothing more than a collection of trivial thoughts and inane ramblings. Fast-forward three years, and the number of Twitter users has grown to millions, while the content of the many posts--better known as "tweets"--has shifted from banal to informative.

Twitter users now cover breaking news, posting links to reports, blog posts, and images. Twitter's search box also reveals what people think of the latest new gadget or movie, letting visitors eavesdrop on often spirited conversations and some insightful opinions.


Brice Croft, a professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says that Twitter search could perhaps help make news alerts more relevant. "If you could search or track large numbers of conversations, then there would be the possibility of developing alerts when something starts happening," he says. "And, of course, it's yet another opportunity to do massive data mining on people's activities to learn even more about what they are doing and when they are doing it."


Meanwhile, Twitter is clearly thinking about ways to better mine its users' tweets. When you search Twitter, its search engine looks for keywords in the most recent tweets, explains Biz Stone, one of the company's cofounders. The results are then ranked based on the time when they were posted; for some popular topics, this can mean just seconds ago.


When asked whether Twitter and Google could work together to build a real-time search engine, Stone is a bit more optimistic. "We're huge fans of Google," he says. "And we'd be delighted to partner or work with them in the future."

Whole article >>>

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