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All The Old Tweets Are Found: Google Launches Twitter Archive Search

Google has launched a Twitter archive service, giving it a more comprehensive index of tweets over time than even Twitter itself. (See Danny’s Where Have All The Old Tweets Gone?) Meanwhile, Twitter gets a logo presence in Google’s search results, the first time Google’s featured a partner like this.

The Google blog has details here. For the time being it apparently works for tweets posted from February, 2010 forward. However soon it will be available for all tweets, from March, 2006 when Twitter first launched.

The new Twitter archive search allows users to enter any keyword or phrase and see what was being said on Twitter about it over time or on a particular day (and even a particular hour or minute during that day). For example you could search on “Obama health care reform” or “Iran Election” or “Lindsey Vonn” and so on. Results are displayed like traditional Google.com search results together with a timeline that shows peaks and valleys of activity on Twitter.

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This allows users to drill down to any point in time and “replay” what was being said on Twitter about any person, place or event. It’s conceptually similar to Google Labs’ News Timeline offering or the Search by Timeline feature:

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There’s value here on several levels, including fairly obvious cultural and historical interest. But as “News Timeline” is a reflection of mainstream media coverage or a “top down” view of news and events, Twitter archive search offers a kind of “vox populi” take on things. You can also see personal or private happenings here too (not just news) — presumably anything that’s been tweeted, ever.

Here’s an example for “Health Care Reform” (by year, month, day, minute):

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The availability of this information makes possible all sorts of data analysis and investigation, and those “use cases” and discoveries will no doubt come out over the next weeks and months. Note the Twitter logo at the bottom of the page above. As mentioned this is the first time Google has allowed this kind of “branding” from a partner.

You can get to Twitter archive search through: Search Options > Latest > Updates. (Right now you need to access via a “special link.”)

Postscript: On a similar note, the Library of Congress announced today that it will be archiving every public tweet since Twitter’s inception in 2006.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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