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Twitter is in the early stages of what could be a major shift as the company begins to introduce and tweak an algorithm that decides which tweets you see and which stay hidden. Long-time Twitter fans may not be too happy about the company’s plans to mess with the service, but it looks like Twitter may also have plans to introduce two new features that could drastically improve the site for everyone.

The news comes from Twitter’s chief financial officer Anthony Noto, who discussed the company’s strategy during a recent tech conference in New York. After touching on plans to introduce a new algorithm he also hinted that the social network could also offer up an improved search engine and private group chats. We’ve been waiting for both of those features for years, and the news gives us hope that Twitter still knows what it’s doing.

At the moment you can start a group conversation on Twitter in public or send a direct message to one person in private, but there’s no way to take a three or four-way discussion behind closed doors without leaving the service entirely.  Twitter CEO Dick Costolo previously hinted that the company could introduce something called “whisper mode,” which would allow you to transition from public to private group discussions on the fly when the situation required it. Sounds good to us.

Meanwhile, Noto wasn’t too specific when discussing the company’s plans to improve its search engine. He notes that it could be tweaked based your own personal preferences to serve up relevant information. That’s not a bad idea, but our biggest problem with Twitter search is that it’s not very good and digging up older tweets. We’d love to see the company do something about that instead.

As for Twitter’s rumored algorithm it’s starting to sound pretty inevitable. We understand why the company needs to reshape its main offering for new users who are otherwise overwhelmed or confused by the service, but we just wish Twitter would let us keep our own personal timelines the way they are now.

Source WSJ