Twitter's New Director Of Search Hails From Yahoo, Inktomi (Via A Wine Search Engine)


Credit: Flickr / Matt Hamm

Twitter’s search engine is arguably its most important asset, and the microblogging site has quietly brought in a Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Inktomi veteran to run it. Twitter hasn’t formally announced the news — and oddly, it hasn’t even been Tweeted about — but on his LinkedIn profile, Doug Cook says he’s been Twitter’s director of search since July. A Twitter spokeswoman confirms that Cook has joined the company, adding that his position is new. Daniel Tunkelang reports that Cook takes over responsibility for the search engine from Twitter Chief Scientist Abdur Chowdhury. Chowdhury founded search engine Summize, which Twitter purchased last summer.

Cook was a VP of engineering at Yahoo and at Inktomi. More recently, though, he’s been running wine search engine AbleGrape, which says it hopes to be the “world’s most comprehensive, up-to-date, and authoritative source for online wine information.” The search engine doesn’t bring in much traffic, but Tunkelang, who himself is the chief scientist of enterprise search firm Endeca, says it has a number of innovative features, “ranging from how they handle multilingual content to clever use of constrained ‘wildcard’ terms like anyvariety to match any wine variety (aka varietal).”


Daniel Tunkelang

I'm with Craig on this. There are enough opportunities to blame engineers for engineering failures without also blaming them for business ones.

Craig VerColen

Inktomi and Yahoo's search were business — not engineering — failures. The ideas and technological innovation created by these companies, as well as the likes of AltaVista and even IBM, provided much of fundamental scaling, indexing and performance foundation for Google, as top engineering resources for those companies joined Google's team. Google's brilliance wasn't PageRank — IBM had already established link analysis as beneficial. It was CPC search-based advertising done in a way that was non-intrusive and remarkably effective. Solving Twitter's elusive monetization problem is something that Twitter as a whole, not just the search wizard, has to tackle if it wants to become the next Google.


considering both Inktomi and Yahoo were failures relative to expectations not sure I'd be too bullish on this hire. Sorry.

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