Twitter Search Engine Revised

Twitter has tinkered with its search engine, a new feature of the increasingly popular social networking site. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites have been discovering ways to become more robust as they gear toward monetization. Twitter's search feature has been cited as a factor that could make the site a possible competitor to Google.

Twitter announced in an April 1 blog posting that it is revising its newly released search engine.

In its original configuration, the search bar existed on the upper part of the user's homepage, and typing in a search query would lead users to results on a separate page.

With the new version of Twitter search, currently in trials with what the company describes as a "small subset of users," real-time results pop up on the user's homepage. Users can also "save" searches and make those keyword terms or words available on a sidebar.

On March 6, Twitter integrated the search feature, which had previously existed at, onto its main site. Simultaneously, the search function also included a "Trends" menu where users can see what subjects are currently generating the most online traffic among Twitter users.

That search feature has been cited as a possible reason why Twitter could soon become a more substantial competitor to Google, if only because a search function would make the site more robust and thus allow it to compete for a larger slice of the online advertising pie.

"Twitter Search is an engine for discovering what is happening right now but it doesn't always have to be a box and a button," Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, said in the blog posting. "Trends are words or phrases being referenced with more frequency suggesting that something interesting might be happening. When you click on a trend link, you can read the tweets and find out what's up."

On March 23, Twitter announced the launch of ExecTweets, a site sponsored by Microsoft and designed to let Twitter users follow the micro-bloggings of the nation's most prominent executives.

On March 26, Twitter announced that it will be launching paid commercial accounts sometime in 2009, as another way of generating revenue from the site's increasing popularity.

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been exploring ways to monetize their relationship with an ever-deepening user base-if only so those site's founders can pay back the millions of dollars their investors have poured into the sites' development.