Twitter adds search function to users' homepages

LONDON - Twitter has added a real-time search box to users' homepages, as well as a list of the topics that are being most tweeted about at any given moment.

Although users of Twitter applications such as Tweetdeck and TwitterGadget have been able to search feeds, and there was a search function on the Twitter site by visiting search.twitter.com, this is the first time that it has been available without users leaving the main page of the website. Searches can also be saved, for quick reference.

The Twitter blog points out that this could be of use to people wanting to know what other users think of their company or product -- or to check out if anyone else living near you thinks that they've just felt an earthquake too.

It says: "As public tweets fly in from around the globe, we analyse them to detect when certain words or phrases occur with higher frequency. These trending phrases are surfaced in the Twitter home page just under the new search box and they're updated throughout the day. Built on our search technology, trends are a compelling if rudimentary way to explore a collective global consciousness."

No hints were dropped on the Twitter blog that this could end up being turned in to a commercial opportunity for Twitter, but as Google has already demonstrated, search can lead to targeted advertising -- and revenues.

Founder Biz Stone said earlier this year that the company is working on creating commercial products and that it would be trying out a few things to generate revenues later this year.

Jennifer Whitehead recommends

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