Twitter nabs Aussie ex-Googler for search

Twitter nabs Aussie ex-Googler for search

Summary: Twitter has bought up US-based social media search company Julpan to bolster its search engine, acquiring some of the brains behind Google's search engine with it.

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Twitter has bought up US-based social media search company Julpan to bolster its search engine, acquiring some of the brains behind Google's search engine with it.

(Screenshot by Michael Lee/ZDNet Australia)

Julpan is a social media search engine that aims to track content based on a number of variables, such as what newsworthy events are happening in the world at the time, and what sort of content a person shares with friends and followers.

While the technology behind the company would be of significant benefit to Twitter, the social media company may have gotten an advantage that's larger than immediately apparent from the acquisition, by taking on its Australian-educated CEO Dr Ori Allon and his companions.

Those in the search engine space might find Allon's name familiar, or, more likely, the engine that he created as part of his PhD research at the University of NSW and named after himself: Orion. He and Orion were quickly snapped up by Google, with Allon becoming a technical lead on Google's search quality team, and Orion integrated into Google's search engine in 2009. It is responsible for recognising and suggesting related search terms across multiple languages.

Allon struck out on his own in 2010, founding Julpan to focus on organising data from Twitter, and took with him a host of ex-Google employees, which will now ultimately become Twitter's. They include: two members of the search quality team that Allon was on, Ugo Di Girolamo and Daniel Loreto; the creator of Google's chat support system, Dave Landau; and the Google Wave technical lead and co-founder, Adam Schuck.

On the company's website, Allon writes:

Twitter houses an industry-leading engineering team that is tackling some of the internet's most interesting opportunities. With more than 230 million Tweets per day on every subject imaginable, Twitter gives us a chance to make an even greater contribution toward instantly bringing people closer to what is most meaningful to them. We look forward to joining forces with Twitter's engineering team to explore how we can best integrate and optimise Julpan's innovations.

Just as Google never let on how much it paid for Orion, Twitter has not disclosed the value of the acquisition. Allon himself will join Twitter as its director of engineering.

Topics: Google, Social Enterprise

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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