Twitter has acquired a small startup called Fluther for its engineering talent, the microblog power said Dec. 21.
Pronounced like "mother," Fluther offers a social question and answer service at Fluther.com, which will continue operating as a project independent of Twitter to serve its 1 million-plus monthly visitors.
Like services Quora, Hunch and Facebook Questions Google's Aardvark, Fluther users ask questions to receive answers from humans instead of solely machines powered by algorithms. However, algorithms do determine the correct people to whom to forward a posed question.
These Q&A specialists have proven quite useful for journalists and niche-information seekers, but have yet to attract major mainstream interest the way social services Facebook and Twitter have.
While Fluther will live on, there will be no new development. Fluther co-founder and CEO Ben Finkel, co-founder and President Andrew McClain, and engineers Tim Trueman, Richard Henry, and Cameron Dutro are joining Twitter.
Twitter, whichbanked $200 million in funding led by Kleiner Perkins, Caulfield and Byers last week, declined to specify what the new talent would do.
The company did say the hires will "focus on helping users discover the most relevant content on Twitter." That certainly sounds like a search-oriented product.
Presumably, they will work on building a Q&A or recommendation search service for Twitter, which has more than half of its employees in engineering and operations.
"During our conversations with Fluther's team, we were continually impressed by their technical talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and much of the thinking behind the question-and-answer product they've spent the last couple of years building," Twitter said in a blog post.
Finkel and McClain added in their own blog post:
"We love Twitter, and we think their wonderful culture and technology are a perfect match for our team. It's the ideal place for us to keep building things that people love.