Many believe the greatest potential of Twitter lies in its ability to perform real-time searches of various keywords. So when that functionality is delayed by some 3 hours, as it is right now, and has been throughout much of the night, with no explanation, you can imagine that users are going to get a little annoyed.
Go ahead, search for anything right now — a good example is for the word “the,” as it’s used in a ton of tweets. The most recent results you’ll find are from 3 hours ago. [Update below, it’s back with a huge gaping hole.] Not only does this badly impact my vanity searches, but there are companies who now rely on Twitter Search to run services such as brand management. Imagine the horror Comcast must be feeling right now not being able to see my tweets constantly bitching about their crap service in real-time.
Likewise, Trending Topics is not working as it also relies on Twitter Search. So we’re being tricked into thinking people actually care about the MTV Movie Awards.
We’ve gotten tipped this a number of times throughout the day, but I’ve largely been ignoring it, trying to give Twitter the benefit of the doubt to at least update us on what is going on. But this is ridiculous. Fix your damn search functionality Twitter, you’re not much use without it.
Update: And it’s back up — with a nice little 4 hour gaping hole of tweets not indexed. Go ahead and try this query and if you go back far enough, you’ll see that it all of a sudden jumps back 4 hours at one point. All those tweets, apparently, lost.