Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has confirmed via blog this morning that the microblogging leader has, indeed, acquired social search provider Summize. Last week I wrote about the rumor as well as my concerns over whether or not this move toward a business model would distract Twitter from the seemingly unreachable holy grail of stable service in the face of rapid growth. Stone doesn't seem to share the same concerns. From the Twitter blog:
Overall service performance remains our first and foremost priority. Adding five extremely talented engineers to our team serves to further this goal. The addition of search to our existing API creates an opportunity for more diversity within projects developed on the Twitter platform. We will continue to support existing applications built on the Twitter API and look forward to innovative new approaches.
It appears from Stone's comments that Twitter not only intends to bring the Summize team on to help enhance the search capabilities but also to help improve the stability. Although the combination of Twitter's microblogging features and Summize's trending services do give it a definite edge beyond the other traditional microblogging services as well as provides it a path to a more lucrative and successful business model (a likely necessity due to its recent funding close).
From a feature perspective, Stone wrote that the Summize service and API will be merged with Twitter's own API to help users keep up with emerging trends on a real-time basis:
There is an undeniable need to search, filter, and otherwise interact with the volumes of news and information being transmitted to Twitter every second. We will be adding search and its related features to the core offering of Twitter in the very near future. In the meantime, everyone is welcome to access search.twitter.com—there’s no need for a Twitter account.
The joining of Twitter and Summize is a strategic one also in the fact that it will help those continued Twitter skeptics leverage the Summize service to do trend reporting and analysis based on Twitter content without having to be Twitter users themselves. Potentially, the closer tie-in could bring those skeptics into the Twitter fold and potentially pull former Twitter worshippers back from newer microblogging services who have slightly better search -- but nothing compared to the intuitive capabilities of Summize.
I do wonder, however, what happens to Twellow and TweetScan and other independent search engines. Is this the end for them or will we soon see "Plurkellow" and "KwipScan"?
I'll keep an eye out. Let me know what you think.
Update: For additional ZDNet thoughts on the acquisition, check out what Steve O'Hear over at The Social Web has to say.