Update: Twitter, the microblogging site loved for its social networking savoir faire and despised for its lack of reliability, has bought search software maker Summize.
The news prompted the blogosphere to fall all over itself in covering this marriage, in which five Summize engineers will move to San Francisco to join the popular startup.
The key issue: Summize's search technology could help Twitter actually monetize its platform with contextual ad placement. Twitter, on which millions of users write short, one-sentence posts about what they're up to, is popular but has been lambasted for too much downtime and for not having a money-making business model.
This, most agree, will be important as it seeks to grow and move forward online. Twitter doesn't want Google and other rival platforms to render it obsolete so it needs to make money from all of its Web users somehow. Online advertising is the way to go. People aren't going to start paying for Twitter, so what other option is there?
Summize makes a search tool explicitly to help users search Twitter. Like Twitter, Summize offers an API so other products and services can filter updates. The Summize service and API will be merged with Twitter's own API to enhance projects developed on the Twitter platform.
Wrote Twitter co-founder Biz Stone in a blog post July 15:
"There is an undeniable need to search, filter, and otherwise interact with the volumes of news and information being transmitted to Twitter every second. We will be adding search and its related features to the core offering of Twitter in the very near future."
Stone also noted service performance remains Twitter's first and foremost priority and that adding five top engineers to the team should further this goal. I e-mailed him, asking him exactly how they would help improve service. He responded: