Web applications and services are all the rage right now and Twitter app creations are even hotter. So, not soon after SimilarWeb launched its website, their sister project SimilarSites, which is basically SimilarWeb’s search engine, presented an interesting twitter integration that brings most of their core functionality to twitter.
What is their core functionality exactly? SimilarWeb essentially provides a user-driven site suggestion and rating service, by accepting any website name a user enters, and yielding a list of related sites and data.
The usual protocol is to install SimilarWeb’s tool and to have it docked on the side of the browser. The dock displays suggested sites as thumbnails or as a list, while the user gets to set the display to his liking, submit new sites, and vote a suggested site up or down. Now, with the addition of SimilarWeb’s Twitter integration, a user can get his related (or “similar”) sites to any site in the world, with a simple Tweet. For example, if you wanted to search for all websites that are similar to Youtube, you would simply Tweet “Youtube” with the hashtag: #similarsites. SimilarSites will then send you an @ reply with a link to the search results page on similarsites.com. The service recommends all the sites to you, based on all the users’ votes. Or Offer, CEO of SimilarWeb, says “By offering this service, we hope to allow the user to get more information quickly and efficiently wherever they are; web, desktop client or mobile. This is a prime example of how companies can use Twitter and Social Media sites to expand their reach, increase their user-base and communicate with their users.”
I agree that the idea of the service is pretty cool. In theory. However, is this a feature that you as a twitter user would actually use? Would you want google to allow you to search Google by tweeting to @google? By tweeting regarding similar sites on your stream, you disclose to everyone what sites you’re looking at (something you may not necessarily want to do) and you get zero value from Twitter’s network effect. Wouldn’t you just prefer to use the SimilarSites Website for these queries?
SimilarWeb soon hopes to offer other “similar content” to users, such as “similar articles” or “similar products.” I think all these services can bring users a lot of value but not necessarily as a service integrated with twitter. Even though twitter is all the rage right now, not everything today has to be somehow connected to twitter.