Twitter is slowly but surely imposing itself as a player to be taken seriously in the search business, with the number of queries conducted on Twitter Search now reaching 800 million a day. At the same time, figures were released regarding fellow social site Facebook, showing that the latter had recorded much slower growth in the U.S. in June, although data indicates that overall growth was driven by India and Indonesia.
Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said Twitter Search has now reached 800 million queries per day, a 33% increase from April, Venture Beat reported. It is good news for the company's advertising strategy of popping sponsored tweets at the top of the list - let's call it SERP, shall we? - every time a user conducts a query.
Twitter has been working on its search capacity for a while now. In early May, it made it possible to embed tweets and has since also acquired in-house analytics facility through the purchase of Smallthought as well as the gradual launch of its own URL shortener. More recently, it has also integrated contextualized local search via partnerships With Foursquare, Gowalla, Localeze and TomTom.
Twitter Growth Drivers
Twitter as a whole is still experiencing exponential growth up to a point where the chirpy company cannot sustain the traffic overload, as demonstrated by the numerous fail whale moments during the World Cup. Since the start of the competition, Twitter has had to cope with service interruptions that you can visualize on its status page. Outside the U.S., the strongest growth drivers geographically speaking are Latin American, followed by Asia. Other countries like Italy, Russia or Spain are also good 'contributors,' according to Royal Pingdom who released a full analysis based on Google's Trends for Websites service.
Facebook Experiences U.S. Slowdown
Meanwhile, fellow social site Facebook, who is also running search tests, has experienced a substantial slowdown in the U.S. market during the month of June. Inside Facebook said the site only registered 320 800 new monthly active users during the period, down sharply from 7.8 million the previous month. The 45 to 54 age group seems to have led the slowdown, although the 18 to 44 group (Facebook's main demographic) remained at usual levels. Inside Facebook cites two reasons for the slump: 1) the consequences of the much-publicized privacy issues or 2) a normal cyclical break after sustained exponential growth.
Indonesia And India Drive Facebook's Overall Growth
However, rest assured, the company did still record overall growth, fueled by key markets: Indonesia and India. Indonesia garnered almost 1.2 million new monthly active users, bringing its total to just about 26 million. Since April, Indonesia has had "the world's third largest number of Facebook users," as the New York Times had reported. Neighboring India had just short of 990 000 new monthly active users in June.
Another area of domination for Facebook is third-party logins: it still remains number one, except for news, ReadWriteWeb reported, citing data from Gigya, a provider of tools for social sharing and third-party logins. This means that users access more third-party sites from their Facebook profile than from other web majors like Twitter, Google or Yahoo. Concretely, Facebook books 46% of all social network logins whereas Google has 17%, Twitter 14% and Yahoo 13%. When looking at verticals like entertainment, Facebook is forging further ahead with 52%, followed by Twitter then Myspace. The area where Facebook is really not good at is news: Twitter accounts for almost half of the market at 45%, and Facebook gets 25%, still above Google's 16%.
With those figures and the search trend, Twitter is definitely and clearly positioning itself as a news and information provider rather than a social site. Gigya's full infographic is available for your perusal on its website.