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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Twazzup: the best Twitter search service yet?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Twitter may have been hit by yet another viral attack over the Easter weekend but its popularity shows no sign of decreasing in 2009. In fact, the way people tweet on the social network is becoming increasingly central to how web users become aware of breaking news today. So it's no wonder that the world of Twitter search engines is expanding by the week, and new entry Twazzup looks set to take the crown.
Back in February, bigmouthmedia SEO consultant R. Falconer wrote about how Twitter Search - a real time search engine that was recently integrated into the main Twitter site - could be the key to making the micro blogging service money. After all, a popular search engine paves the way to selling advertising - and that's just how Google, the world's most popular search engine, started out in 1998.
However, Twazzup, a new Twitter search engine that launched yesterday, seems to trump Twitter Search in almost every respect. For instance, much has been said about the general untidiness of the way in which Twitter Search results are presented. Users can see real time results, popular search trends and tweets in any language, but actually sorting through this list can be tiresome. Twazzup, on the other hand, separates its results in a much more meaningful fashion.
A search for Gordon Brown reveals real time tweets about the British Prime Minister along the left of the page in the same style as Twitter Search. But along the right, popular tweets are highlighted and a real time updated list of the most popular links on Twitter is revealed. What's more, a list of Top Trendmakers is revealed, a feature that could act as a helpful guide for newcomers to Twitter looking for people to follow.
Twazzup: the best Twitter search service yet?
Twazzup may seem like the most dynamic Twitter search engine at the moment, but it's not the only one trying to improve on the offerings of the official Twitter Search. Twitalyzer Search is a new concept which aims to measure the influence of particular Twitterers, in order to provide users with more authoritative results. According to the site, a Twitter member's influence in Twitter is measured through a range of variables, including relative reach (determined by the number of followers), relative authority (the number of times you are retweeted) and relative clout (how often you are referenced by others). This method of ranking Tweets is certainly a better way to sort through real time results without the use of a Google-like algorithm, but its usefulness still pales in comparison to Twazzup's advanced offerings.
Another site that wants to create waves is social search engine OneRiot. OneRiot's Twitter search function doesn't return relevant tweets, but instead links that are shared by Twitterers. But while this function may be useful for newshounds attempting to establish which news articles are the most popular with Twitter members, the results are virtually meaningless without the actual tweets beside them to compare.
Twazzup: the best Twitter search service yet? Twazzup's innovative take on sorting through real time tweets appears to offer a service that's superior to its competitors. If it takes off, it could emerge as a serious contender against Google News, which last week made some concession towards the new appetite for real time results by launching a Google Trends-like article timeline for topic clusters, indicating the number of sources per story and when each was released.
Essentially, Twazzup has upped the ante for Twitter search engines - especially the officially integrated Twitter Search. In order to stay relevant and not risk losing its users, the search engine will need to incorporate some of the same multi-dimensional search functionality. Alternatively, Twitter could always offer Twazzup an acquisition deal and integrate the engine, in the same way Google bought YouTube in 2006, a service that was far more popular that Google Video. But since Twitter is struggling to monetise its activities, it looks like we may be waiting some time yet.

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