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Twitter's sleek new homepage puts a focus on search

July 28, 2009 |  7:39 pm

Twitter-homepage

Twitter went live with a new homepage this evening that puts its search feature at center stage.  Twitter.com visitors who are not logged in will see the search bar at the top of the screen, ensconced in an eye-pleasing new design and color scheme. The new look shows how the company and its product have matured beyond the cartoonish "What are you doing?" days.

Among Twitter's goals is to make the site more accessible to newcomers -- a major part of which is quickly showing people just what the heck Twitter is. Giving new users the option to conduct a search makes sense; it's a way for users to learn by doing.

Also on display on the new page is Twitter's questionable habit of overstating its own importance. The old homepage told users that Twitter was a way for friends and family to stay connected by answering "one simple question: What are you doing?" That tone of humility has been shed: By searching Twitter, you are now "sharing and discovering what's happening right now, anywhere in the world."

In an ideal world, that would be true, but the few million people that use Twitter regularly represent a tiny fraction of the planet, geographically and demographically. 

Still, you can't blame a kid for dreaming, and it's true that micro-messaging has already opened a window on the online world whose size and immediacy would've been difficult to imagine even a couple of years ago. Given a few more years, some of that swagger may end up justifying itself.

"The open and timely exchange of information will have a positive impact on the world," co-founder Biz Stone said in a blog post announcing the new homepage, "and Twitter has a role to play."

-- David Sarno

Follow my variable-rate stream of tech and culture-related musings at @dsarno

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