Twitter sets sights on search and mobile

26 October 2009

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter, the rapidly-growing microblogging service, is looking to areas including search and mobile as it seeks to further develop its operations in the future, Evan Williams, its co-founder, has said.

Microsoft and Google have both recently agreed deals with Twitter which will see "tweets" made on the social messaging utility added to the search results featured on their portals.

“Search is a huge thing for us. I think about it a lot. Not a huge number are using the Twitter search engine, but it's growing," Williams said.

The move towards "real-time" information can not only be used by companies like Google, but could also be employed to help Twitter deliver useful information directly to consumers.

"We are in the middle of a series of experiments to try and figure out how to enable people to discover what they need to know without asking," Williams argued.

"Our whole goal is about telling people what is happening in the world and doing it really well. We want to be able to find out what information you want before you do."

Twitter is also focusing its energies on helping new users connect with other members of the site with who they share similar interests.

One way the San Francisco-based firm is seeking to achieve this aim is by offering people the chance to "follow" groups based around specific subjects.

This approach is now being trialled, with netizens signing up to the site now being presented with potential "Suggested User Lists" they might be interested in tracking, ranging from basketball players to media companies.

"If we can see what categories you are interested in, we should be able to mine that content so we can suggest other people you might like to follow," said Williams.

"We know we need to get much better at helping people get started and well-connected when they sign-up to Twitter. People aren't sure how to discover content on the site, or even how to use it. "

Mobile phones are also well-suited to the 140-character limit currently in place for messages posted on the Web 2.0 property, a rule which was originally designed to reflect the length of a single text message, according to Williams.

"We think we can do well on mobile because Twitter is native to it ... Mobile is really exciting as our goal is to make Twitter essential to everyone's lives. We want to help people make better choices on the move," he suggested.

Data sourced Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff