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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is Twitter a Serious Threat to Google? (Should You Really Have to Care?)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - JULY 17:  (FILE PHOTO) A s...

The Google search engine has become such a major part of our lives for the past several years that in the minds of many people the debate over who's king of the hill in search on the Web was ended long ago. With recent media ratings showing that nearly two-thirds of all searches in the U.S. are initiated through Google, it doesn't appear that its position as the pre-eminent destination for everyday searching will be in jeopardy any time soon. Or will it?

In recent days there's been quite a bit of twittering in the news about search features surfacing in test mode on Twitter, the broadcast messaging service that's been

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

skyrocketing in popularity over the past several months. In fact, search on Twitter is not really new at all: they purchased the search engine assets of Summize about a year ago and have since supported a separate search of messages with real-time updates - in effect a customizable real-time filtered message feed. The search features surfacing now on Twitter in test mode are largely the repackaging of these already existing capabilities. But with Twitter having the wherewithal to make its search capabilities more visible and integrated with its core messaging service, the question of what happens at the intersection of broadcast messaging and search is becoming more interesting to many people.

Why is the ability to search Twitter messages so important to many people? Well, as the only highly scalable broadcast messaging service currently in play on the Web, Twitter has become a de facto source of breaking news and opinion monitored by many people - including enterprises wanting to understand what's happening in their market sectors. Is there an earthquake in China? You'll hear hundreds of first-hand reports about it first on Twitter, including links to photos and videos snapped by people equipped with mobile access to Twitter.

Want to be the first to hear of news being reported by major media outlets and corporations? Increasingly Twitter is becoming the channel that gets the first headline and link out on the Web from traditional sources of news. How are people reacting to major events? Searching the opinions found on Twitter is now occupying more of marketers' attention in determining where they stand in the battle for influencing their existing and prospective customers. Think of Twitter as the largest and most intelligent sensor network in the world, keeping people in touch with physical, social, financial and professional realities being broadcast for the world to tune into on a moment-by-moment basis.

But as powerful at Twitter may be at delivering the right-now view of the world from hundreds of thousands of points of view every minute, it is in fact just one input that people need to make decisions in their lives. If I want to know if an earthquake is actually happening, I may turn to Twitter for first-hand accounts. If I want those first-hand reports assembled into a cohesive story, I may want to look at mainstream news outlets. If I want to know how I can send aid to the victims, chances are I may turn to Google to research what resources are available. If I want to consider how my corporation is going to be impacted by it, I will turn to my intranet database, email and file management resources. If I want to study emergency preparedness in detail, I may search on Amazon for current books by leading experts. Each input may be important to me on different levels for different purposes.

So if your question is something along the lines of "Who will be the champion of search a few years from now, Google or Twitter?" you're asking the wrong question. The real question should be, "How can I profit from all of the searchable information sources available at any time, no matter where they come from?" Information from Twitter searches and feeds will be most valuable when it's available alongside all of the relevant information sources that can add depth to the insights that its short messages point towards. Having searchable real-time messages from Twitter is a great feature, but if you don't have all of the other information resources available that relate to those inputs, you're only halfway down the path to making great decisions.

That's where MuseGlobal comes into the picture, of course. Our OEM Smart Connector technology can comb through Twitter content as easily and as rapidly as it does more than 6,000 other types of Web and enterprise content sources and search engines, performing data normalization, categorizing and integrating it all on the fly into whatever technology platform, program interface or application that suits your needs. Most importantly, MuseGlobal Smart Connector technologies are not just for listening: your software and services can publish content to Twitter and other platforms as well via MuseGlobal Smart Connectors, enabling a cycle of monitoring, evaluating and responding that can make the most of all of the well-filtered inputs available from your MuseGlobal-connected content sources.

So who will have the best search engine in the world a few years from now? You will - if you have deployed MuseGlobal's highly scalable Smart Connector technology to enable your platform to be configured rapily and reliably to take advantage of whatever searchable and updateable content sources matter most to your audiences. No need to put any guesswork into it; just deploy the solution that's been working at thousands of locations worldwide for our hundreds of OEM clients for nearly a decade. Now that's something worth twittering about!

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