In the age of Google Instant, where we expect search results to complete themselves before we’re done typing, Twitter’s search feature has long seemed a little slow and dumb. Can’t it guess at what search term or person you’re looking for? Can’t it autocorrect your spelling? Can’t it just search among the tweets of people you follow?
Well, now you can do all of that, in theory. The microblogging service took the wraps off a new smarter search product Friday, after teasing us late Thursday with a brief announcement that search and discovery on Twitter was about to change “forever.”
The changes, which are rolling out to all users on mobile Twitter and Twitter.com, fall into three categories.
First, there’s the Google Instant-like guessing. “Search autocomplete shows you the most likely terms for your query as you enter it — especially useful if you’re trying to follow the hashtag for an event or you’re looking for a certain Twitter account,” writes engineer Frost Li on the Twitter blog. “You can select your query from the drop-down menu even before you finish typing it.”
Search autocomplete will also correct your spelling if there’s a common search term with slightly different letters — a feature Google has boasted for years.
Secondly, Twitter says, search is about to get a lot smarter when it comes to related terms, hashtags and accounts. “If you search for a topic for which people use multiple terms,” says Li, “we will provide relevant suggestions for terms where the majority of that conversation is happening on Twitter.”
And finally, once your search is complete, you have a new option to narrow it down: click on tweets from people you follow. This will appear next to the regular search filter options, “top” and “all.” In other words, if you want to forget the rest of Twitter exists outside your circle of follows, the company just made it a lot easier.
Is smarter Twitter search working for you yet? Let us know in the comments.