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When you’re looking to find out what folks are saying about hot political events such as the protests in Iran — or on the more trivial end of the spectrum, the new Harry Potter movie — searching for specific keywords on Twitter and Twitter-related search engines does the trick. But what if you’re only interested in what your friends — not everyone on Twitter — are saying about a certain topic? Status Search, a web-based search engine developed by Lior Levin and Elad Meidar, lets you search for specific topics (e.g. “weekend” or “The Hangover”) in the status updates of your Facebook friends and the people you’re following on Twitter.
To find a certain word or phrase in your friends’ status updates, Status Search crawls the web to index status updates. Levin and Meidar — who are based in Tev Aviv and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., respectively — started developing Status Search in February. The search engine, which they funded themselves, launched publicly in beta in May.
In the near term, Levin said they’re looking to form partnerships with sites such as MySpace, Digg, LinkedIn and Delicious, as well as Twitter applications like Tweetdeck, which he hopes will integrate Status Search into their platforms. Currently, you can sign up for free email alerts on Status Search that will notify you when subjects you’re interested in show up in your friends’ status updates, but Levin said the site will begin charging for the service in six months. Levin and Meidar plan to further monetize the site through advertising revenue.
Despite its tiny user base of 800 people, Status Search provides more expansive search results than similar offerings on FriendFeed and Zensify, an iPhone application. FriendFeed is limited because it only searches through the status updates of your friends who also have a FriendFeed account. Status Search returns your friends’ status updates from the entire week in its search results, while Zensify returns your friends’ most recent Facebook and Twitter status updates.
But Status Search isn’t without its flaws. The search engine would be more potent if it expanded its search offerings to other sites since it would help people stay more on top of what their friends are up to. Plus, people’s tweets and Facebook status updates are often identical.