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Twitter Enhances Search and Discovery Tools for Users

Twitter Enhances Search and Discovery Tools for Users
February 6, 2013 4:46PM

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"Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook realize the value of their content goes beyond the ever-flowing stream of immediacy," said social media consultant Rebecca Lieb of Twitter's enhanced search. "Users want and need tools to find content that's relevant to their immediate needs. Expect to see more developments in search functionality."

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If you're one of those Twitter users more interested in finding connections, links and information than sharing what you ate for lunch or the cute things your kids say, you'll be interested in the enhanced search features announced by the San Francisco-based micro-blogging social network Wednesday.

Upgrades to the Android and iOS mobile apps and mobile.twitter.com will allow Twitter's 500 million users to better search, connect and discover using their devices via "a single stream of content in each tab so that you can better find what's most important to you when you're on the go," Twitter announced on its official blog.

Much More Discovering

After sending a tweet, users can click on the #Discover tab and find anything related to the hashtag used in the last tweet: Tweets, Activity, Trends and suggestions of accounts to follow -- appears in a single stream, on both iPhone and Android. You can also dive into Activity and Trends from new previews at the top of the Discover tab.

Search results also show up in one stream, producing a mix of Tweets, photos, and potential follow accounts. iPhone users also get a new search button in the form of a magnifying glass icon next to the Tweet send button, which was already available for Android and iPad users.

Another big change is that the default view for the Connect tab is now Interactions, helping users keep track of followers, retweets and mentions, similar to what TweetDeck does. By adjusting settings, users can change the default and limit the view to "Mentions only".

Saving time, clicking on links now sends the users directly to the featured Web site, eliminating the previous expansion and required second click.

The changes come a couple of weeks after Facebook announced enhancements to its own search features, allowing users to more easily find each other or Facebook pages and groups based on topics or questions. But Twitter isn't playing catch-up, Rebecca Lieb, a social media and digital advertising expert at the Altimeter Group, told us.

Important Tools

"These search enhancements to Twitter's mobile apps differ significantly from Facebook's Graph Search," said Lieb, who sees search enhancement as the key to social networks' futures.

"What they do point to is that search has long been the default interface for navigating and finding content. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook realize the value of their content goes beyond the ever-flowing stream of immediacy. Users want and need tools to find content that's relevant to their immediate needs. Expect to see more developments in search functionality in the more mature social networks."

In other Twitter news, the company has decided that users must certify that they are over 17 before using the Apple version of its video sharing service, Vine, after an employee mistakenly recommended a naughty video as an editors' pick. According to the iTunes App Store, the program contains "Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References, Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity" and other adult stuff.

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