Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Twitter enters search: big things are afoot


Twitter relaunched its home page to emphasise "search," and the impact will massively reverberate for travel, financial services, hover mowers -- you name it.
Twitter announced the new home page on its blog today. For travel companies not on Twitter, the new home page may change many peoples thinking fast. This could have a significant positive impact on our business if we harness it correctly!

I entered the term London Hotels into the Twitter search box and found the following tweets about packages, reviews, contests and a lot of irrelevant clutter, too.
Here's a sampling:

London luxe hits whole new levels - check out 'The Apartment' at the Connought. Holy moly. http://su.pr/2nzaJQ #hotels #london #travel 40 minutes ago from Su.pr

thinkapartments: RT @yosunita: researching budget hotels in London, not much bang for buck! check http://bit.ly/EoAFp for 4* Apartments as low as £69 about 1 hour ago from TweetDeck

neotericuk: Awesome Website London Budget Hotel, Discount London Hotels http://bit.ly/Nv93H about 4 hours ago from Seesmic

australiaasia: Europe hotel deals special discount budget rates hotels in http://bit.ly/12LsR4 Paris Amersterdam Rome venice London Berlin France Italy etc about 5 hours ago from web

smithroy: Hotels in London, cheap hotels in London http://bit.ly/CuXvX about 6 hours ago from web

So, if we're serious about pushing deals and/or promoting the brands we work with, Twitter search gives us an immediate, fresh way to push offers on our sites. The new home page, with its emphasis on search, is an unsophisticated test that undoubtedly will evolve and force changes at search engines like Google.

Airlines, hotels, cruise line, tour operators, wholesalers, car-rental companies will all be taking notice of this change.

Contrast the Twitter London Hotels search with a Google search of the same term.

The Google search for London Hotels is dominated by paid ads -- something the Twitter search hasn't dabbled with yet.

The Google local business results for London Hotels include a map pinpointing the locations of the relevant businesses. There are no maps in the Twitter results for now, but the tweets provide more of a sense of immediacy than the Google results.

I'm not saying that one search mode -- Google's or Twitter's -- is better than the other (although Google has had a lot more time and resources to define its search algorithms, of course). Twitter is a newbie in all of this. But, what I am saying is that Twitter search will change Google, Bing, Facebook. With the introduction of Twitter's new home page, I believe we've witnessed the start of something big today.

Cheers