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Twitter Now the World's Fastest Growing Search Engine

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What is your search engine of choice? Google? Yahoo? Bing? Try Twitter.

According to cofounder Biz Stone, who spoke yesterday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Twitter now reaches some 800 million search queries per day. That's over 24 billion searches per month, more than Bing (4.1 billion) and Yahoo (9.4 billion) combined.

While Stone's company is still a long way off from Google, which supports around 88 billion search queries per month, Twitter is quickly catching up. Since last April, Twitter searches are up 33%. To put that in perspective, a study by Nielsen last year concluded that Bing was the fastest-growing search engine in the U.S. after it ballooned over 22%. Now it seems Twitter has taken the title.

And this is something the service has been angling for. Last month, at the the World Innovation Forum, Stone argued that Twitter is "not a social network," though many people view it as one. "That's been a myth since the beginning," he explained. "We're much more like an information network or a source of news."

With 24 billion search queries a month, perhaps Twitter and Stone are onto something.

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  • GetMySkin

    I am not sure whether I am alone in thinking that Twitter searches are limited in terms of the quality of its search results. I certainly do not regard Twitter as a search engine which will generate meaningful links and content.

  • Mary Ker

    I do use Twitter as a way to connect with people with the same professional and hobby interests. So yes, I search for key words that link me to them. It's a different sort of search than "Switzerland treks", but one that yields ongoing connections of interests rather than discrete bits of data. I hadn't thought of it as a search engine, but, well, I guess it is, isn't it? And a unique one.

  • Adrianna Hoff

    Good try Biz. I know that you have been trying to find a business model for Twitter but your claims show your lack of understanding of what makes search powerful. It is not how many people search or the "searches per month" metric that matters. Search is about offering relevant results back to the user.

    I am planning a trip to Switzerland and want to know the best hikes.

    I searched for "Switzerland treks" with Twitter. Result = No results for Switzerland treks.

    Searched with Google. Result = About 999,000 results (0.21 seconds) -- With ten perfect and relevant results on the 1st page

    Bing! = 1-10 of 200,000 results. With #1 and #3 = great and useful results I can relate to.

    Yahoo! the same. Useful results not to mention its amazing Search assist feature (which I love and depend on)

    ..."That's been a myth since the beginning," "We're much more like an information network or a source of news."

    It must be hard to define who you are under such pressure. - Twitter is still a micro blogging engine in need of a business model.

  • Brett W

    Does this article take into consideration the number of applications/services which constantly scan Twitter for references to a company/person/et al? It seems those automated search services might artificially inflate the reported number of searches.