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Google adds Twitter 'timeline' search option; Library of Congress to offer its own Twitter archive

Google just added a new way to catch up on Twitter's never-ending conversation: a timeline view through which you can replay old updates.


The new feature, announced in a Google blog post this morning, appears as a choice if you click the "Options" link at the top of a Google search, then click the "Updates" link at the left of the search-results page.

Er, actually, it may appear if you click that link. Google's post notes that it's only starting to roll out the timeline feature and provides links to some sample queries. (Update: Dylan Casey, Google's product manager for real-time search, said it "should be the default by this afternoon" for most users, with everybody getting it tomorrow.) By replacing Google's search terms on those pages with my own, I could then test it further. The screenshot above indicates how many people were Twittering about the Nationals during the team's home opener last Monday, while on this page you can see how many times my last name showed up in tweets this month.

I can see this providing some immediate utility -- it could be fun using this to track the chatter about the Capitals' postseason run. But its real payoff won't come until Google delivers on its promise of making the full Twitter archive viewable from this perspective, "back as far as the very first tweet on March 21, 2006." How soon? Casey said that was "at the most, a couple of months away."

Update no. 2: Not long after Google's announcement, the Library of Congress posted its own Twitter news--it's acquired the full archive of public tweets. The resulting flood of traffic knocked the LoC's blog post offline, although you can still view Google's cached copy. In the meantime, the LoC used a follow-up tweet to point people to a copy of the announcement posted on its Facebook page.... which leads me to wonder if the library couldn't have found a way to work MySpace into its PR strategy too.

Does all this sound useful, or just a harmless distraction? (Yes, I know: Some would ask the same about Twitter itself.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 14, 2010; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Search , Social media , The Web  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Twitter adds ads
Next: Internet firms, telcos, politicians ask, 'What next?' as net-neutrality debate reboots


Actually, Rob, your last sentence summarized it all for me: that this latest technology is, by virtue of being newer is somehow more worthy. So many media, WAMU included, needs to not only be available by email but by Twitter and Facebook as well. Email is becoming outdated already? Call me a Luddite but Twitter is a worthless distraction that will be gone in a few years, at most.

Posted by: tws1372 | April 14, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Agreeing with tws. Twitter is boring and relatively useless.

Posted by: steven09 | April 15, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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