Sunday, February 15, 2009

Twitter and real time search

Interesting article in TechCrunch: Mining The Thought Stream:

What if you could peer into the thoughts of millions of people as they were thinking those thoughts or shortly thereafter? And what if all of these thoughts were immediately available in a database that could be mined easily to tell you what people both individually and in aggregate are thinking right nowabout any imaginable subject or event? Well, then you’d have a different kind of search engine altogether. A real-time search engine. A what’s-happening-right-now search engine.

In fact, the crude beginnings of this “now” search engine already exists. It is called Twitter, and it is a big reason why new investors poured another $35 million into the two-year-old startup on Friday.

I've been thinking about this the last few weeks, or at least since USAir Flight 1549 crash-landed in the Hudson. When the plane crashed I was chatting with a friend.

She asked, "Do you know anyone flying into Charlotte today?" My first thought, without asking why, was that there had been a crash, and I went immediately to Yep, #1 trending topic.

Later on I wondered why I didn't check CNN or some other news source, but I already knew the answer-- Twitter is faster in situations like this.

That Twitter just got another $35m investment doesn't surprise me in the least. Twitter is anything but frivolous.

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