Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) is planning on improving its search engine and, controversially, giving users topical tweets from people they don't follow, according to the company’s chief financial officer.
Twitter CFO Anthony Noto said at the Citi Global Technology conference in New York Wednesday that the social media platform, which has changed very little since its debut eight years ago, is poised to undergo a major shift. Daniel Graf, Twitter’s new head of product, has especially put his focus on improving the site’s search capability, Noto explained.
“If you think about our search capabilities, we have a great data set of topical information about topical tweets,” Noto said, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. “The hierarchy within search really has to lend itself to that taxonomy,” including the need for “an algorithm that delivers the depth and breadth of the content we have on a specific topic and then eventually as it relates to people.”
Noto added that Twitter’s current reverse-chronological order hasn’t provided the best possible user experience. Many users miss out on tweets they’d find most relevant because they’re quickly inundated with tweets from elsewhere if they happen to be looking at another window, for instance. The company is working to correct the problem by testing a new algorithm that aims to put such "content in front of the person at that moment in time,” he said.
The CFO also reaffirmed to users upset with seeing tweets from people they don’t follow in their timeline that the change is probably here to stay. Twitter first announced the change in a support document on its website last month.
“Additionally, when we identify a tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see tweets from accounts you don’t follow,” the policy explained.
“We select each tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”