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4/14/2010
01:41 PM
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Google Offers Twitter Replay

Real-time search now goes back in time.

In its first major enhancement to its real-time search capabilities, which debuted last December, Google on Wednesday introduced the ability to replay past Twitter posts.

Relevant Twitter posts, or tweets, show up in Google search results in more or less real-time, and can be viewed specifically through the "Updates" link, accessed from the "Show Options" disclosure button, on the left-hand pane of Google's search results page.

Previously these "Updates" scrolled off the search results page as new ones were loaded.

But now Google is providing both a timeline chart that displays the volume of tweets on previous days and the ability to replay these past tweets.

"With the advent of blogs and micro-blogs, there's a constant online conversation about breaking news, people and places -- some famous and some local," explains Google product manager Dylan Casey in a blog post. "Tweets and other short-form updates create a history of commentary that can provide valuable insights into what's happened and how people have reacted. We want to give you a way to search across this information and make it useful."

Google says it plans to make tweet replays available in English globally over the next few days.

For those who can't want to test the new capability, the company has provided a link that allows users to experiment with the new service.

People seeking to plumb past tweets will also be able to turn to the Library of Congress, which said on Wednesday that it had acquired the entire archive of Twitter messages, dating back to March 2006.

"That's right," said Library of Congress director of communications Matt Raymond in a blog post. "Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter's inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That's a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions."

Stay tuned for the privacy backlash.

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