Twitter has become the world's fastest growing search engine, the company's co-founder Biz Stone told reporters recently. On a monthly basis, searches on Twitter surpass Bing and Yahoo! combined.
Stone revealed a statistic rarely reported in the media: Twitter's search engine is serving 24 billion queries per month, compared to Bing’s approximate 4.1 billion and Yahoo!’s approximate 9.4 billion searches. Twitter searchers often look for topics via third-party services such as TweetDeck.
A Nielsen in 2009 reported Bing was the fastest growing search engine in the US after it enjoyed 22 percent increase in growth since its launch. But since last April, Twitter searches have increased by 33 percent.
Searching on Twitter displays real-time results, sometimes half a minute ago. Trending topics are also displayed on the left side. You don't have to join Twitter to search its vast database of users.
Twitter still lags behind Google, which handles 88 billion search queries per month.
Evan Williams, Twitter’s chief executive, told the Telegraph the micro-blogging company continues to fine-tune its search engine technology. He said, "We are working on getting better at surfacing more relevant information and our 'Top Tweets’ function, which prioritises the most re-tweeted updates on Twitter, has helped that process along."
He goes on to say, "But we know many people are only using our search engine now and consuming information via Twitter – and not tweeting – so we need to make this service as good as other search engines, in terms of generating relevant search results."
Twitter has long tweaked its search capacity. In May, Twitter let you embed tweets and also launched its own URL shortener. It also rakes in revenue with its sponsored tweets platform -- perform a search and you will see some tweets highlighted as sponsored.
He was asked about Facebook as competition to Twitter, and he pointed out: "The world is big enough for Facebook and Twitter.”