Let’s Face it, Twitter IS a Search Engine

April 21st, 2009 |


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Hear Me Out

While some might already feel this way, chances are I’m likely to stir up some debate here, so here we go….Twitter is A Search Engine.  There I said it.  Now before some of you look for the closest object to throw at your monitor, hear me out.

Sure, when most people typically think of search engines, we think of sites like Google, Yahoo, and MSN to name a few.  These sites, by definition are search engines.  So what is a good definition of a search engine?  Well just head on over to the ol’ trusty WikiPedia….you only need to read the first sentence to see what I am getting at.

A Web search engine is a tool designed to search for information on the World Wide Web

Now, if you are still green to the world of Twitter, let me explain why it is in fact a search engine and why you need to use it when researching your business, business ideas, news, etc.  For those new to Twitter, take a few minutes and read up on “WTH Is Twitter“.

As you know, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform where pretty much everything happens in real time.  So what does this mean?  You can stay on top of emerging, current, and relevant topics in real time.  No longer do you have to wait a few days for someone to blog about a new site, new product, or even new news.

Why It Works

There is no denying the power of Google in terms of a search engine.  The vast majority of internet users will utilize Google for searching online.  Google and the other big search engines are great for looking up information such as “how to’s”, product reviews, general research, etc.  Where these search engines lack is in the real time information and connection with its users.  Twitter, unlike the aforementioned search engines is truly powered by the people.  This allows for user to user connection in real time.

The problem with Google, Yahoo, MSN, & other old school search engines is that the information that shows up your search results is somewhat outdated.  I say this in that each search engine, spiders, digests (runs through algorithms), decides what info it considers most relevant, then publishes those results within its search results.  This is somewhat antiquated in that the search result listing can be days and sometimes weeks old resulting in you not truly having the most recent and relevant information.  While some information you may be interested in rarely changes, current and emerging events can change each minute.

Mobility is another strength of Twitter in that users can utilize Twitter on the go.  Whether you are out and about traveling and curious as to finding a good restaurant in the city you are visiting, or even find yourself in an emergency (San Diego wildfires), a simple tweet can provide and find information you are looking for without being in front of the computer.

Will Twitter Overthrow Google?

Some say that Google is to big, or to strong to be overthown by Twitter in terms of a search engine.  While this statement may have some truth to it, just remember there was a time where AltaVista, Lycos, and Yahoo dominated the search engine market.  Do I personally think Twitter will surpass Google as a search engine?  No, not necessarily, but I do feel it is challenging Google to step up their game.  Whether Google ends up buying Twitter or developing something bigger, better, more innovative than Twitter; Twitter is definitely changing up the search game.

What are your thoughts on Twitter as a search engine?  Do you use it for searching? Has it changed the way you find information?  How do you think it will evolve the search engine game?

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  • http://www.TheVirtualAsst.com Michelle

    Interesting concept. Honestly I have never thought of using Twitter as a search engine to replace Google though I will frequently search Twitter to find out specific things. It has changed how I search info and will continue to do so now that your post has given me an alternate way of thinking about it!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Eunice_Bosea Eunice_Bosea

    i wish i can twitt as you do , iam new. how does it work

  • Shawn

    I'm very new to twittering. Today, I spent half the day on it. I have learned so much. Just today!! In some ways, I can see how it could be thought of as a search engine. Things are instant. Not days/weeks/months old. But in order for it to really be a search engine, I think they need to expand the text line for SEVERAL more characters!

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  • http://internetpro.com.au Internet Pro

    I don't actually recall seeing anyone mention the search url in this post, so here it is http://search.twitter.com

    I use search to find people to follow interested in the same topic as me. Unlike Google search results can be completely different within only a few hours. (minutes if the topic is hot!)

    Technically, twitter isn't a search engine, it *has* a search engine. I shudder to think the lengths SEO's will go to in order to game twitter search results. They'd just open an account, and blast tweets for all the keywords on an ongoing basis. The noise would be unbearable, and make the search function useless in record time.

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  • http://twitter.com/travelization/statuses/1586762192 travelization (Travelizationdo

    RT @ploked Let’s Face it, Twitter IS a Search Engine http://tinyurl.com/d5oo8j (via Twittley.com)