Some Twitter users may notice new highlighted people or news at the top of search results. The feature appears limited to a small test sample right now.
The new Top People results page shows one Twitter account highlighted above the rest of the results, with a View All link leading to more popular users for that term. It is unclear exactly how Top People are calculated, though there is some speculation that this could become advertising space.
Top News lacks the View All link, but does allow users to refine the results using Advanced Search, with parameters such as exact phrase, language, hashtags, and location. The Top News results shows a bold headline, a one line content excerpt, a picture pulled from the page, and a link to the article.
The default display setting for all search results remains “Top” rather than “All,” which is a point of contention with some users. Searchers must click and select All results to see a more complete list - if they notice the default. This leaves less popular users at a distinct disadvantage.
Other recent Twitter updates include the September launch of their analytics platform and expanded Promoted Tweets distribution. These new features are a nice surprise, given that CEO Dick Costolo said not to expect much in the way of improved Twitter Search when he spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit a few weeks ago.