Twitter is finally making a feature update that people actually want. According to social media analyst Matt Navarra, Twitter’s advanced search filters for mobile are coming soon.
Here’s what they look like in practice:
The feature makes it easier to find specific tweets you’re looking for by filtering based on date, user, retweet count, hashtags and more. Sure, this technically has existed on Twitter for a long time, but figuring out how to pull up advanced search is pretty unintuitive and clunky. On the web, you have to type in your search term, then click the three dot menu to the right of the search bar to open up advanced search. On mobile, this wasn’t even an option until now, when this feature release seems to be imminent.
These changes could come courtesy of George Hotz, the security hacker known for developing iOS jailbreaks and reverse engineering the PlayStation 3. He later founded Comma.ai, a driver-assistance system startup that aims to bring Tesla Autopilot–like functionality to other cars.
But in his most recent role, Hotz was a Twitter intern. Yes, an intern. Hotz tweeted his support for a controversial memo in which Elon Musk told employees to get “extremely hardcore” or leave. When his followers pushed back on this, he stated, “I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’m down for a 12 week internship at Twitter for cost of living in SF.”
So Musk put his frenemy to work — according to Hotz’s own tweets, Musk told him that his job was to fix Twitter’s bad search system. In late November, he polled his followers to see what they wanted from Twitter search. Some common answers included searching within “liked” and “seen” tweets, more accessible advanced search and moving away from exact text search.
Even Musk himself complained about Twitter’s search feature within a week of taking control of the company. “Fixing search is a high priority,” he tweeted.
It’s not clear when this feature will roll out, but typically, when a feature can be reverse engineered by an app researcher — as is the case here — it’s almost ready for the public eye.
We’ll have to wait and see how good this feature is in practice, but truly, the only way for Twitter’s search function to go is up.