Twitter executives are expected to unveil something called "Sponsored" or "Promoted Tweets," a search ad program that will put brands' messages into users' Twitter streams. It's formally slated to debut later today.
Early advertisers in the program include Best Buy, Starbucks, Virgin America, and Bravo, all of which have already been using Twitter's reach to promote their brands. When a Twitter user searches for a word an advertiser bought, the promoted message will show up at the top of the results, even if it was written much earlier. The posts say they are promoted by the company in small type, and when someone rolls over a promoted post with a cursor, it turns yellow.
This is apparently how the company expects to turn its exponential growth into revenue. Google users may have grown accustomed to seeing ads alongside their search results, but Twitter users could very well resent seeing promoted posts in their personal content stream. We'll find out soon enough.