For any service where you are taking time to enter data, links, conversations, and photos, search is very important. For a real-time service that lets you update in seconds, things get lost and forgotten. Search fixes that.
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Twitter search is extremely limited in that it only shows a few days worth of tweets. A search for “Guitar Hero” yielded tweets back to September 16th only. That’s 7 days as of the writing of this post. I have noticed that in the past it was 4-5 days, so perhaps Twitter is evolving a bit where search is concerned.
Twitter clearly states that their search is to “See what’s happening right now”, but right now could mean a lot of things. An example situation that shows how weak search hurts Twitter’s experience is a trending topic such as “#hurricane” that started on a Friday and is still going the next week. That’s very possible. Using Twitter’s current search, you wouldn’t be able to roll back and see the source of the trending topic. That’s what Twitter is lacking right now, context. With retweets and trending topics, finding the true source of something is a task that shouldn’t be so difficult, and is very important.
Not only can you search all content ever entered into Google+, much like Twitter, you can save searches that you do often. This is great for companies checking on mentions of their brands, or someone who is just interested in conversations about “Baseball” or “Phillies” respectively.
Facebook’s response to exploring data was the Timeline, and it’s a beautiful experience as we’ve reported. They’re choosing to handle data differently, with visualization, whereas Google+ has decided to be direct and stick to the company core competency, search.
It’s your turn to evolve, Twitter.