On its face, Twitter's decision to put a search box on the right-hand column of all its user's profile pages and to put query results on those pages as well seems like a bunch of search-world minutiae. But the blogosphere clearly thinks the news is important (Take a look at Techmeme)and this time, it's right. Unlike the search redesign it announced last month though never actually rolled out, this one will encourage people who don't now use Twitter's search service to do so. The planned redesign last month hid "Trending topics," searches that were appearing with increasing frequency, below a tab. Now, those searches appear as text right under the new search box, which will get users to try it out. More importantly, users don't have to navigate away from their profile page to see the results of a query.
What does this mean for Twitter? The new search interface might not be enough to get people who use third-party Twitter services like TweetDeck back to Twitter.com. But it will increase traffic to Twitter search, particularly among more casual Tweeters. Already, Twitter Search is proving itself to be a competitive search engine, particularly for news, because it works in real-time unlike its competitors and it could use more exposure. The design change also could open up a new revenue stream for the company, if it ever decides to get around to making money. Twitter might hesitate to put sponsored Tweets or ads in the midst of a user's stream on their profile pagebut it's another case entirely if an ad shows up in the results of a search query, where users are already very used to seeing ads on other search engines. And advertisers will appreciate that their ads show up among results on a user's profile page, rather than elsewhere.
By Joseph Tartakoff