Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How Did Twitter Pass Yahoo in Search? With Robots, of Course!

If you’re a regular person, you probably rarely search for something on Twitter. Because search on Twitter is a lousy experience.

So how can Twitter generate more search queries than Yahoo (YHOO) and one fifth of Google’s (GOOG) total each month, as the company announced during its Chirp conference today?

Because Twitter’s definition of “search” is different from a regular person’s.

You probably think of a search as something you do when you enter a term into a search box and hit return. But Twitter’s network allows power users on clients like TweetDeck and Seesmic to create a standing search field for a particular term, which then automatically updates itself. Each one of those updates counts as a new search.

And those kinds of searches–made by a minority of Twitter users, with the aid of machines–are what account for most of Twitter’s search volume, Danny Sullivan explains quite well today, following a conversation with Twitter CEO Ev Williams.

As Danny notes, it’s certainly an important technical accomplishment for Twitter to be able to respond to all those queries. But it also illustrates why Twitter needs to and will move its ad platform beyond search queries.

[Image credit: a voir etc]


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald