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Twitter search function to "change forever" after upgrades

Twitter has announced a number of changes to its search function as part of an effort to make it easier for users to find out what is happening in real-time. The microblogging service adds search autocomplete, spelling corrections, related suggestions, results with real names and usernames, and an option to get results from only those you follow.

"These updates make it even easier to immediately get closer to the things you care about," Twitter wrote.

Thanks to the addition of search autocomplete, you'll see the most common terms for your query as you enter it, just like when you search on Google. Also, if you misspell a word, Twitter will automatically show results for what you probably meant to type.

The new related suggestions feature, meanwhile, will prove helpful when you search for a topic that people refer to using multiple terms. In this case, Twitter will provide relevant suggestions for terms that are most popular on Twitter at the moment.

In addition to being able to see all or top tweets for a given search, you can now narrow the results so that you only see tweets from people you follow. Finally, the update will help you find the official Twitter account for your favourite celebrity more easily, thanks to the addition of results with real names and usernames.

"When you search for a name like 'Jeremy Lin,' you'll see results mentioning that person's real name and their Twitter account username," Twitter wrote.

All the updates have been applied to, while Twitter for iPhone and Android received search autocomplete, spelling corrections, and related search suggestions.

One of Twitter's engineers hinted that big changes would be coming to the social network's search function, though the update was not as major as some had speculated. "Search & discovery in @twitter set to change forever after tmrw," tweeted Pankaj Gupta, engineering manager who heads up the personalisation and recommender systems group at Twitter. "Team - congrats and enjoy the enormity of ur impact few understand today!"

Based on Gupta's tweet, some had hoped that the update would allow users to run a query of all Twitter history. No such luck.