Twitter Chases Google With Homepage Makeover

Microblogging site transitions to real-time search engine

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009  |  Updated 4:30 AM PDT
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Twitter Chases Google With Homepage Makeover

Twitter

Twitter promotes its search capabilities.

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Twitter operates on Google’s turf now.

The micro-blogging site revamped its welcome page Tuesday to promote real-time searches of trends and events -- and challenged new users to do more than tweet their breakfast.

The old homepage almost apologized for Twitter’s existence with the question “What is Twitter?” placed prominently on the page, followed by a cluttered tutorial on how to use the site.

And there was this fascinating mantra: “Twitter is a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: 'What are you doing?’”

“Why would I want to do that?" Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote of the old welcome mat on his company blog.

In contrast, the new site boasts a slicker design and giant real-time search bar that invites users to “see what people are saying about…”

The new page also lists trending topics and a new tagline: “share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world”

Stone said he hopes to “awaken a sense of wonder” for first time users of the service that leads to involvement. Some speculate that the move is the opening shot in a battle to take on Google in the search business.

Stone acknowledges his company has evolved.

“Twitter began as a rudimentary social tool based on the concept of status messages but together with those who use it every day, the service has taught us what it wants to be,” he says. “Twitter has moved from simple social networking into a new kind of communication and a valuable source of timely information.”

Of course, the new page is only accessible when logging in and out, which makes it more of a recruitment tool than a feature regular Twitter users would take advantage of.

But it’s a pretty good start. 

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