Twitter is one of the fastest growing mediums in the world, and everyone from celebrities to your grandma has an account. An additional explosion in popularity happened when the site launched a media-focused element, allowing users to share image content. Now Twitter is enhancing their media elements further with a complete re-vamp of their in-site search.
Twitter's Big Update
The new version of Twitter's search, announced on June 1st, gives a new layout with an image and video section. The images and videos uploaded by users are presented according to the relevant hashtags attached to the media. Searches can also be conducted by username. Further, Twitter has paired with Firefox to allow users to enter the hashtag or username directly into Firefox's address bar to automatically conduct a Twitter search for said tag or name.
To accompany the new layout and media features, Twitter is releasing new upload features that allows users to more quickly upload and attach media to their tweets. Twitter apps for smartphones and tablets will be getting similar updates, making mobile media tweeting more viable.
Is Twitter Competing with Google?
Let's recap: Twitter is expanding their image base, adding media searches, and even making it possible to do Twitter searches directly from your browser. Is it possible that they're trying to stand up against media searches on Google and other search sites? It's certainly true that Twitter is stepping into a contested territory. Bing and Google have both been at war for images searches, adding impressive new range of image search features. The most recent example of this is Google's SERP update which pulls more images directly into the top page of search results.
The real question, though, is whether or not Twitter's update will actually hurt Google, Bing, and other search sites. And the answer? Beyond being a direct competitor for Google's image search that targets Twitter-loving media junkies, Twitter presents a more relevant risk.
The basic theory behind social sites overtaking search engines has little to do with Twitter or Facebook expanding into the traditional territory of web searches. Rather, as the social methods of getting the same or better resources increase, people won't need to search at all. The biggest threat Twitter presents is to the real-time search sector which has taken a beating recently. Collecta recently closed and OneRiot has also given up it's search engine. Nachofoto, a real-time image search engine that is recently out of beta should be wary. Social 'magazines' such as ShowYou and Flipboard might also be a little concerned as Twitter starts to make more moves to own the content shared on it's network.
Either way, as a newly launched feature, it's impossible to say for sure how popular Twitter image searching will be. Nonetheless, wise webmasters will take advantage of the feature by uploading their images and videos to Twitter with appropriate, established hashtags to capitalize on new trends in real-time content sharing.