Marketers have continually questioned Twitter's ability to produce a viable search engine. They may soon get their answer. John Wang, former search engineer at LinkedIn, joined the real-time social marketing site to work on the "next-generation Twitter search infrastructure" as a software engineer working on open-source projects.
Providing insight into the direction of Twitter search, Wang explains his interest in real-time and semi-structured search systems, with a specialty in full text search, semi-structured, vertical and faceted. He believes the Web is heading into real-time information, similar to real-time bidding on display advertisements that process data to target ads on the fly based on consumer clicks and preferences.
Ruslan Belkin also joined Twitter from LinkedIn in March, as director of engineering, search and relevance.
While Twitter can process real-time searches, the challenge becomes building the technology to turn search keywords and phrases into actionable data that serves the most useful information and target ads in real-time.
Twitter began making search improvements since its acquisition of Summize in 2008. About a year ago, the company began talking up changes to its search infrastructure. At the time, Twitter began providing personalized search, which offers more relevant results along with images and videos related to the query.
When users search for a name, they see tweets alongside that person's @username in the search results. For example, previously, searching for "Justin Bieber" might only serve up tweets that included the phrase "Justin Bieber," without @justinbieber. Now, Twitter shows tweets with @justinbieber in the search results. This happens when Twitter's technology becomes confident that the real name and user name match. Twitter also made improvements to its search widget, adding relevance and duplicate filters. Now those widgets provide more relevant search results.
Aside from search improvements, Twitter's Web site lists close to 100 job openings, from systems development to advertising and sales. The company is looking for an ad quality product manager to identify and implement quality signals, predictive models and data analysis to serve up the perfect ads to the correct site visitors.
Twitter also wants to hire an Android mobile product manager responsible for Twitter’s offerings across various Android devices, including mobile phones, tablets and televisions.