Twitter Adds “Google-like” Homepage

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Twitter redesigns its home page, adding a box to enable easy access to its real-time search engine, along with hot topics

In a sign of just how easily Twitter wants its users’ tweets to be found, Twitter on 29 July unveiled a revamped home page that puts the Summize search assets it acquired a year ago to the test.

Twitter users will have to sign out of their account to see the new home page, which puts the search box front and center, providing a comfort zone for new Twitter users. TechCrunch has pictures of the new and old home pages here.

The old home page is a basic landing page for sign-ups with no search bar. The new page has a search bar that lets even non-Twitter users search the site for popular topics without signing in.

The home page also highlights trending topics by minute, day and week. Moreover, when users click on the topics, they are treated to explanations about why the topic is hot now, something that most hot trend tools don’t offer.

This is a testament to Twitter’s direction going forward: to be a real-time search engine capable of surfacing the latest tweets, the 140-or-fewer-character posts that millions of users post to the site every day.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post that by providing a search box and trends upfront, Twitter’s new front door is a key step for the company to reposition its service as a discovery engine. Ideally, more users, and in particular business users, are being targeted with the new design.

Indeed, Stone acknowledged the redesign came as a supplement to the Twitter 101 business plan Website the company launched last week to clue in new users and business clients on not only the value of Twitter, but how to use it. Stone wrote:

“Defining a “tweet” for the uninitiated and explaining how to create an account doesn’t resonate with everyone. “Why would I want to do that?” is a common reaction. However, demonstrating the power of Twitter as a discovery engine for what is happening right now through our Search and Trends often awakens a sense of wonder which inevitably leads to a much more compelling question, “How do I get involved?”

If enough businesses start to leverage Twitter to promote their products, the new home page could also help Twitter answer the question, “How will we make money?”

With the search bar so upfront and personal for users, Twitter seems to be latest startup to follow Google into providing a simple search bar for users to get comfortable with.

However, Google isn’t surfacing Twitter’s tweets in real time the way Microsoft’s Bing search engine currently does. Now that Twitter has parroted Google’s simple search bar design, will Google repay the favor and ape Twitter by surfacing Twitter tweets in real time?