Twitter is taking its search functionality from behind the curtain and is testing a search box on the Twitter homepage along with updated Twitter trends.
I’m not seeing the search box myself when logged into @lorenbaker (please follow me), but it seems that they are doing some random testing. If you’re not seeing the search box on Twitter, you can fool around with Twitter search at search.twitter.com
Incorporating search is a first step in establishing Twitter as a competitor to Google, or as a start page online, but one question I have is how many Twitter users are Twittering from desktop applications which already have some sort of search functionality?
Sponsored Search Results!?!
Still, it’s a signal from Twitter that they are getting serious about search and expansion of their basic funtionality; which is a good sign and may lead to a business model, which includes sponsored search results.
This screenshot I found on Flickr shows that Twitter is serving a sponsored result which points to the commercial Twitter profile of the New York Times. Very cool!
If this is the case (reminds me of the Techmeme advertising model), sponsors can boost their own profiles and followers by targeting relevant keyterms in Twitter, which of course can be identified by popular search terms .. and Twitter Trends! A great non-obtrusive way to test sponsored results in Twitter without shocking its userbase.