Browsing Tag


The people at Google are Smarter than the Twitter Folk

Are you new around here?  Spatially Relevant is about sharing/identifying trends in marketing, branding and how product managers can change a business with technology, such as social media.  Stick around and add the rss feed to your reader or follow on twitter.  Now on to the article.

Twitter continues to be an interesting study in business dynamics. A zero revenue company which acquires Summize, generates a valuation of $250 million and provides a development friendly ecosystem which is flourishing, maybe the goal is for others to deliver features.    The most recent/rumored $35M cash infusion would make one think this would provide for some additional capacity and wherewithal to invest into feature extensions and integration of existing assets.  This is where Twitter should learn a lesson from Google – integrate capabilities as quickly as possible.

Google knows the importance of integration, Google ads were nearly immediately on Feedburner and now the big account collapse is underway for all of us.  I have so many things which have been merged that I secretly look forward to the event post a Google acquisition.

Postini is another great integration story for Google.  Good product managers collaborate, conspire and collapse apps as quickly as possible, this however isn’t the case at Twitter.     I think Team Twitter has only done one acquisition and had all the performance issues in the interim, so maybe they should get some slack.  After all,  Twitter is new at this whole Product manager thing.  The management team may just be at the, “so I guess as long as it works, who really cares if you can access it easily” stage with a quick transition into “how to monetize” phase of product management.

“Yup this thing might just be good enough someone might pay for something.”

Twitter Gives Us the Bird

For a company who should have updated their home page with new quotes by now,  they definitely have hit a home run with the brand bird which appears to be the key asset, but they could use just a little more “management” of the product.  Maybe a messaging refresh, website update, feature delivery is needed at this point.

Good news – it won’t be hard to add new features or find ones to build out.  From a competitive intelligence perspective , the Product Managers could quickly see what others are building and prioritize, they could look at what they already have and find ways to improve it.    This may be asking a bunch from folks who have like 2 year old quotes on their home page.

What quotes?

I know most users never see the quotes anymore, since they are hidden below the fold and normally as users we are logged in.  So here are the ill placed stale quotes which might need a refresh from the product marketing manager, if they have one:


BTW, cool quotes hidden below the fold is like not having cool quotes you may want to just whack them and get 1K back for processing/data transfer.  So with that baseline, I’m curious beyond the great brand Bird, what are these folks working on?

Probably still working on scale.   At the end of the day they probably have spent the last 28 sprints developing infrastructure and scale improvements, but time for some features folks.  IDEA!  Forget new features, just provide access to the ones you have, like say — search.

Today, you can easily search Twitter @, but you click on the Twitter logo, you don’t go to Twitter – you go to back to search/summize.  Want to search from twitter?  Type in the URL and GO! Not that useful.


So if the development community realizes search in a baseline feature, why can’t Twitter?  I think their PM’s are writing excruciating requirements with “if/then/else statements” based on user load, high availability and core readiness, there is probably a backlog somewhere chuck full o’ opportunity.   Not knowing the development methodology I’ve expressed some requirements for consideration – let’s call it the voice of the customer if you will.

The Requirements:

Old School Version:


  • The system shall provide an authenticated user a way to easily leverage the existing search capabilities @ while maintaining session state.
  • The system shall provide access to search for unauthenticated users.
  • The system shall provide a way to navigate back to the core Twitter UI without keystrokes.
  • The system shall provide keystroke based navigation options for the mouse impaired.

Persona Based:

  • Steve, a mid-level software developer who really likes Phish, would like to be able to easily find Tweets of interest, via let’s say hash tags or keywords and not have to type in a URL and easily return to HIS stream with just a click.

Tools: Search is Vast

I had the opportunity to catch up with John Price last night in Austin and he is doing some REALLY cool stuff at Vast, a focused search tool.  Vast is a vertical search platform for autos, travel, and real estate, where users make decisions leveraging Vast partner websites, such as AOL, Overstock and  The site represents an interesting community tool for organizations to deliver search capabilities focused on areas of interests and providing incremental capabilities which are not core to a given community platform.  Search is definitely changing – going narrow and focused, vertical.

The growing number of companies out there improving search (Xobni and Twing) marketers, small business folk and communities will clearly benefit as more and more smart folks are looking at delivering the next generation of search.  What cool search tools have you found?

Bulletin: Search goes narrow, topical and coversational

The great thing about networks is you find out about things you would never know anything about and Twing is one of those things. I tooled on over and gave it a try based on a link from someone. Initially I wasn’t too impressed with the functionality, but I am VERY impressed at the conversation I had with Kevin Shea, the GM @ Twing. It started with the brief comment below:

By Kevin on Mar 11, 2008 |

Try your Twing search again under “post” search, which has much better results:

Your original query was a “topic” search.

And yes, we will keep the crawlers humming :-)


So not only did Kevin respond, he was kind enough to A) confirm the stuff is earlier stage B) informed me that there was a little bit of “stupid” user in the process, me and C) started a conversation which asked for input and feedback. As an aside, Kevin is also very good at using his blackberry with near real-time response, even though he was a little under the weather, but that also is a sign of his passion in improving search. So with several emails and encouragement to provide feedback, I went and registered.

So I spent more time on the site and there is 1 feature set that once it is all “crawled” out should be REALLY useful – community buzz. The Community Buzz page has some interesting tools. Tags, posts and linked content which is being searched on and posted on @ bulletin boards. I would have never thought Montauk Fishing was so popular, but I also wouldn’t have thought Aaron’s North Georgia Trout online was one of the largest such community on the planet. So now I have my use case – I did a search on NGTO to see how it worked and it returned meaningful content on NGTO.

So the biggest challenge is how can WE help these folks out? Let’s all use the tool and provide feedback, but before we do that, let’s understand what the intent and purpose of Twing is, in Kevin’s words:

  1. Build awareness about the growing value (and volume) of forum discussion content. We feel this is an under served emerging market that is seeking a true leader.
  2. Enhance the search user’s experience by giving them access to forums across multiple taxonomic categories.

Conversational search will be an increasing important tool for business, more so than individuals I think, so my recommendation is move the tool to have alerts for marketers and product managers. This will also have significant use for technologists, as people and business users, to solve issues. To that end, perhaps a new tab which is focused on support forums, this would help folks find information on software or hardware support issues.

For personal users, I might add just a little more granularity to the first level of the directory and group the content into “smaller” boxes which may have less content, but doesn’t fall below “the fold”. I’ve always wanted a dynamic directory of forums and this looks like it could be one of the largest out there, I looked around and I think that’s a true statement. Bulletin boards have always been an example of niche communities that rarely are found by accident, typically someone in the know pointed you there. With Twing you can join the conversation a good deal easier without being part of the cool kid group.

Search is rapidly moving from shotgun approaches and brute force solutions to deliver results in context of a content type. Few things are as hidden on the web as the conversations on bulletin boards and a narrow search tool can “turn up the volume” on these conversations for more folks to participate in and drive value from. The platform provides personalized views, once registered, which could be useful for businesses and individuals alike to stay on top of areas of interest, brand feedback and competitive intelligence. I agree with Kevin that their are “millions” of folks which could find utility from this solution – let’s help them find Twing.

Kevin’s outreach is a great example of how companies can leverage social media for input and to understand how to improve what they are delivering to the marketplace. I’m glad I was able to virtually meet Kevin and get the low down on Twing. Give it a try and let them know what you think because they are listening.