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Twitter search One Riot

A number of search start-ups have appeared recently that differentiate their offerings from older search engines' by playing up their specialized focus on the real-time Web. For example, OneRiot, based in Boulder, Colo., covers Twitter among other social media, but it has an intriguing means of reducing Twitter spam: it does not index the text in tweets -- it plucks only the links, reasoning that the videos, news stories and blog posts that are being shared are what others will be most interested in.

OneRiot follows the link, checks for spam by comparing the content of the page with the content of the tweet, and then uses its own algorithms to figure out where the link should go in its always-changing index of "hot" items.

Strictly speaking, this is not real-time processing. But checking links before adding them to the index seems to be time well spent.

Tobias Peggs, general manager at OneRiot, said his company could process, check and index a link within 37 seconds. When asked why he bothered to measure the seconds if it took 20 or more minutes just to receive searchable tweets from Twitter, he explained that the delays at Twitter's search site did not affect his company's search service, which receives the data stream at the same time Twitter's own search engine does. Because one venture capital firm, Spark Capital, has invested in both OneRiot and Twitter, OneRiot has "access to Twitter data that other third parties don't," Mr. Peggs said.

Hey, Just a Minute (or Why Google Isn't Twitter)
Published: June 14, 2009
Real-time results sound great, but can't a search engine take a moment to chew its food?


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