Twitter now runs a billion searches every day

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Twitter has just completed an overhaul of its back-end search architecture for users who are looking for specific users or messages, and it says it is now more capable ot handling the one billion queries that are generated each and every day.

That's pretty impressive.

This is the first major revamp for the back-end of Twitter's internal search engine since 2008. Since then, however, Twitter usage has swelled so much that it is handling more than 12,000 queries every single second.

Because of huge explosions in popularity, social networking sites have faced traffic-based outages like never before. It has happened to Twitter, and also in more high-profile cases recently the same thing happened to Facebook.

The behind-the-scenes search architecture at Twitter now uses a brand new engine written and rewritten in Java. In addition to having such a massive capacity, it can now produce results in real-time, and no search should take longer than 10 seconds to execute.

So what does all this actually mean for users?

Twitter had this to say in an official blog post:

"The first difference you might notice is the bigger index, which is now twice as long -- without making searches any slower. And, maybe most importantly, the new system is extremely versatile and extensible, which will allow us to build cool new features faster and better."