Yesterday, Twitter engineering manage Pankaj Gupta teased that a huge revamp to how search and discovery apply to the network would hit today, and hit today it has. Twitter has officially announced the changes, which could turn the real time application into something far more useful.
The biggest change is the addition of search autocomplete. The most likely terms for what you’re looking for will now auto fill in the Twitter search box. At the moment, users are pretty on their own and need to know the exact or nearly exact phrasing of what they’re trying to find on Twitter. It’s a simple but crucial update, as is spelling corrections – something it’s fairly surprising wasn’t already a part of Twitter’s search element.
Related suggestions will also be introduced to suggest other relevant terms and topics to users, as will results with real names and usernames (i.e., searching for Barack Obama will included @ mentions to his handle as well as his name without that attribution).
Twitter is also adding another view option to looking at a query’s results. At the moment, you can see “All” or “Top” tweets, but you will now have the choice to see them categorized by “People you follow” as well, which can be a really useful tool if you’re trying to parse down feedback without defaulting to trusting the mass Twitter audience.
These updates are part of how Twitter’s fighting its reputation as a hive of noise, where it’s hard to cut through the echoes and find valuable content. Search has been an afterthought for users because the application provided the bare minimum. Now we’ll have a much more fully-featured, capable tool at our disposal to fight against the irrelevancy that comes with skyrocketing user and usage numbers.
Changes aren’t live for everyone yet, but should be rolling out shortly.