Yahoo on Wednesday announced it would be providing integrated Twitter results into its search engine, and that Yahoo users will start seeing this functionality immediately. The company also laid out a brief roadmap for further Twitter integration across the company's network of Web sites.
The recent addition of Twitter is part of Yahoo's open strategy, which the company announced in 2008. Yahoo hopes it will help make the new Yahoo homepage and Yahoo Mail an integral part of users' daily Internet activity.
Here's a quick breakdown of Yahoo's plans for Twitter integration:
Tweets in search
The most obvious result of this deal will be the integration of tweets into your Yahoo search results. You will start to see this new functionality today as a tab at the top of your search results.
Yahoo has taken a slightly different approach with Twitter results than Google and Bing. Yahoo only displays two tweets at a time, but also displays two YouTube video links that have been extracted from relevant tweets.
When I did a search for Barack Obama, for example, I saw two Twitter updates and two video links. Clicking on the video links took me to full screen YouTube videos. If I wanted to see more tweets, there was also a 'more Barack Obama from Twitter' link that took me directly to Twitter's own search results page.
Yahoo's use of Twitter is not yet comprehensive, so there are many topical issues, such as the Winter Olympics, that at the time of this writing did not trigger Twitter results in Yahoo.
Yahoo's search sidebar, an existing feature that lets you drill down to results by source, already offers a way to search for Twitter results. To do so, you just include the word 'Twitter' into your search query. Yahoo will then show you a mix of Twitter accounts and older status updates related to your search terms. You won't see the same real-time updates that the new approach offers.
By comparison, Google constantly updates relevant tweets within your search results. Bing, meanwhile, places very few links to Twitter within its search results, but offers a dedicated Twitter page at Bing.com/twitter.
Personal Twitter Feeds
Yahoo will also be incorporating a mini-Twitter client into its sites, including the Yahoo Homepage, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Sports, and so on. The company wasn't exactly clear on how this will work, but from the sound of it, your Twitter feed will stay with you as you visit select Yahoo sites whenever you are logged in to your Yahoo account.
You will also be able to send out tweets from these Yahoo pages, and there will be mechanisms to help you share Yahoo content with your Twitter followers. Yahoo-themed tweets will include ways to comment on particular Web pages, such as rating a movie or tweeting about your Fantasy Sports teams.
Real-time Public Updates
Another part of Twitter integration will be the inclusion of real-time public Twitter updates as part of other Yahoo sites, such as News, Finance, and Sports. It's not entirely clear, however, if that means you'll automatically see, for example, New York Yankees-themed tweets on Yahoo Sports pages or whether relevant tweets will only appear when you search within Yahoo's various domains.
Now that all three search engines have integrated Twitter results, what do you think? Do you find Twitter results helpful or do they just add more noise to your searches?