Real time search is relatively new. Its no surprise that Twitters previous agreement in 2001 with Google gave the search engine access to public tweets. The agreement expired in July of 2011 and was not renewed. This was a bold move by Twitter and it looks like its paying off in a big way.
Some investors like George Zachary, a partner at Charles River Ventures think Twitter could be even bigger than Facebook. Twitter is a platform where anyone can reach out to anyone using Twitter. Over the long-term it will have a big impact on the World.
Since then Twitter has made a lot of progress bringing on new users. Since then Twitter has educated its user base about the value of using #hashtags. So much so that Facebook and Google+ started using hashtags so that users could publish and search for content easier.
These filters are what makes Twitter unique and an incredible real time search and discovery tool. I use it everyday to keep up with the stock markets and also web sites that I manage. Google, Bing and Yahoo are still great tools but most of their search results are delayed and indexed by algorithms.
The billion dollar question is will advertisers receive long term value of paying to be inserted into Twitter feeds and hashtag searches. This business model is very similar to the Google Ad Words business model which is a multi-billion dollar business. I still kick myself to this day questioning how Google was going to make money when it went public in 1999 at $100 per share.
I am tempted to buy Twitter based on its growth and disruption of the search space. I think real time search is just the beginning.