Twitter's engineering manager Pankaj Gupta foreshadowed that big changes were going to hit Twitter today when he tweeted late Thursday: Search & discovery in @twitter set to change forever after tmrw. Team - congrats and enjoy the enormity of ur impact few understand today!
It is unclear exactly how different this search and discovery function will be from the current one but many users have felt limited by the way that Twitter organized tweets and suggests people to follow.
One thing on the search wish list is the ability to search through just the people that you follow. Others are hoping that you can get a long list of people you should follow based on your tweets, retweets and currently-following list.
Many companies have been focusing lately on their discovery portals so that people will spend more time (and quality time at that) on a given site -- this is especially common with video sites like YouTube, Ooyala, and Telly, but has also been a large component in the FourSquare update.
As data-collection and algorithms continue to improve, more companies want to retian their audience by giving them the best recommendations and content for seamless programing catered to their every interest and media consumption pattern.
Back in May, Twitter announced that the "discover" tab on its website and that mobile apps would display stories with more personalization based on the accounts users follow. Then, just a few weeks ago, Twitter updated the "trends" feature with more information relevant to any given user.
It will be interesting to see just how different this update will be and if it will increase the number of people using the service and the time spent on Twitter.
According to comScore numbers earlier this year, Pinterest users from America spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on the site per month, well ahead of Twitter (36 minutes), LinkedIn (17 minutes) and Google+ (6 minutes) but none can match with the average monthly time spent of Facebook of 6 hours and 33 minutes.