Last week we got a teaser to Twitter’s new search functionality, when Pankaj Gupta from the search and discovery team announced that there would be major updates coming. On Friday, Twitter unveiled the updates. So what do the changes mean to the site, and are they any good?
We’re used to Google’s autocomplete function for search, and now we can expect to see the same on Twitter. When you start searching for a term, Twitter will suggest queries that you’re most likely to be interested in, as well as recognizing misspellings, with the equivalent of Google’s “did you mean” message, suggesting relevant search results.
In addition to auto-complete, Twitter will now prefill the search box with your saved searches.
This is a nice addition to Twitter search. Now when you search for a particular topic, Twitter will pull in related searches, either by hashtag or keyword.
Tweets by people you follow
This was on our list of what we’d like to see from the search update, and it’s something that should have featured on Twitter search a long time ago. Now when you search for a term on Twitter, you’ll be able to narrow your results to just see tweets just from people that you follow.
Real Name Searches
A frustrating aspect of Twitter’s search feature has been the difficulty of searching for people by real name. If you search for “jeremy lin,” for example, the search will automatically bring up accounts in that name, also distinguishing between verified accounts.
The overhaul to Twitter’s search is certainly welcome, but it’s not quite as mind-blowing as the teaser tweets would have us believe. They’re all sort of the basics that Twitter should have had in there anyway. It would have been nice to see Twitter go a bit further with the functionality to connect people and content. But the good news is that these search updates will also be available on iPhone and Android.
Lauren Fisher is one of the founders of Simply Zesty, where a version of this article originally ran.