After teasing the world with portents that “search & discovery in @twitter set to change forever,” Twitter’s big announcement came and went with a lot of observers left holding a big bag of disappointment.

The actual news was interesting enough in its own right: Twitter announced today that it would be “introducing search autocomplete and ‘People you follow’ search results to twitter.com.” But after the hype, it hardly seemed to be the big bonanza of world-shattering change that many people were expecting.

The autocomplete function fills in the most likely terms for your query as you type it - results appear within the search box itself and as a drop-down list from which you can select one of the terms or people that appear.

You will also be able to sort your search results with a new filter. Tweets with the term you are seeking can be shown now in Top, All and People You Follow views.

This feature, when implemented, will probably be the most appreciated. Being able to filter tweets to just those people you know has long been a requested feature for Twitter.

The new search features will also include spelling correction suggestions for related searches, as well as results for real and user names.

These changes are certainly useful, but they aren't exactly the paradigm shift that came with the addition of the #Discover tab in 2011.

The improvements to Twitter will move the social media service a step closer to feature parity with the major search engines like Google and Bing. They will also serve to make Twitter a better content provider, with search results and tools more tailored to help individual users find what they are looking for.