Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Twitter’s Killer App: Real-Time Search. Anyone can search the past, but only Twitter can unearth the present

Every: “Real-time search. Google doesn’t have it. Neither does ChatGPT. Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook probably wish they had it, but they don’t. Twitter, Silicon Valley’s favorite shitshow, is the only one with this power. And for some inexplicable reason, it’s not doing anything with it. Twitter has a tremendous amount of live, real-time data about what’s happening where. This makes Twitter unique as a service—it encourages its users to create in-and-of-the-moment content. They share what they’re seeing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing now—for example, millions of people tweeting during the World Cup final, thousands posting about a Taylor Swift concert, or hundreds discussing an emergency in their town. Something happens, and seconds later, people turn to Twitter. In contrast, Google (and search’s other new darlings ChatGPT/Bing) are moving at a snail’s pace. Google’s web crawlers can take anywhere from three to 30 days to cycle the internet fully. Its most “of the moment” results usually pull from news outlets, which themselves may take two to three hours to cover a significant event. And plenty of real-time topics you may want to search for will never warrant news coverage. “Why is the highway near me closed right now?” is a perfect example. ChatGPT only accesses data from 2021 and earlier, according to OpenAI. It has no information about events taking place right now. It can brilliantly analyze any existing data you present to it, but it can’t use the internet for updates or developments (yet). AI like GPT-4 has a role to play in real-time search, but these computing systems need someone—or something—to feed it real-time data. Enter Twitter. The data that Twitter is sitting on is truly unique. If it can figure out how to interpret it and serve it to users via search, it could be a game-changer. And yet Twitter search, even the advanced version, has barely changed in several years. It’s complicated, not particularly user-friendly, and not tremendously helpful unless you want to find a specific tweet from a specific account or look at a bunch of tweets from a lot of different people, many of which are either not relevant to your search or not reliable at all. It doesn’t help that they’re presented in no particular order…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.