New Twitter welcome page highlights search function

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    The new Twitter welcome page.
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It's not exactly the sexiest news to hit the Web today: Twitter, the supremely popular social networking site, has a new welcome page. If you're a regular user of Twitter, of course, the site probably boots up straight to your own homepage, so you may not have noticed the difference. (Either that, or you're tweeting through a third-party application such as TweetDeck.)

But if you look closely at the new screen, which is pictured above, you'll see there's a good deal to the new interface. For one, as CNET's Caroline McCarthy notes, "Twitter is not all about you anymore." Instead, the screen is dominated by a large search box, and a list of trending topics – a nod to Twitter's increasing popularity as a search tool.

Twitter's new look, Clint Boulton writes on eWeek, "is a testament to Twitter's direction going forward: to be a real-time search engine capable of surfacing the latest tweets, the 140-or-fewer-character posts that millions of users post to the site every day." On the Twitter blog, founder Biz Stone said the new home page was more in line with what the site had become:

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Twitter began as a rudimentary social tool based on the concept of status messages but together with those who use it every day, the service has taught us what it wants to be. From features invented by users to applications built on the platform, we're still discovering potential. Twitter has moved from simple social networking into a new kind of communication and a valuable source of timely information.

Over the past few months, a gaggle of real-time search tools has begun competing for market space, each one timed to take advantage of the soaring popularity of Twitter. Facebook is testing an internal real-time search tool, and sites such as OneRiot, Topsy, Tweetmeme, and Scoopler have made great strides in the turbo-search market.

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