Google is truly acting like the search engine it is by offering a new opportunity for searching archived tweets to see what was being said at a set time in the past. One of the shortcomings of Twitter search has been the relatively short shelf life of a tweet to be searched. Twitter is not a search engine and doesn’t have the capability to archive every tweet that ever was.
That’s where Google jumps in. As a result you now can have a rather rich source of data that can be used for research and just about anything else. While social media makes the ‘now’ important Google takes that moment and can paint a picture of the ‘now’ in a more complete way. The Google blog tells us more
Starting today, you can zoom to any point in time and “replay” what people were saying publicly about a topic on Twitter. To try it out, click “Show options” on the search results page, then select “Updates.” The first page will show you the familiar latest and greatest short-form updates from a comprehensive set of sources, but now there’s a new chart at the top. In that chart, you can select the year, month or day, or click any point to view the tweets from that specific time period.
Here’s a look at a result from a search for Shaun White from this year’s Winter Olympic Games.
From an online reputation monitoring perspective this kind of information can be invaluable as you can see the progress (or lack thereof) in helping to thwart a PR train wreck. Lessons can be learned and used to prevent something from happening again.
Of course, another interesting element is that the electronic fingerprint left by Twitter activity just got a little more defined. Imagine how lawyers will be able to recreate what was said or not said in the Twittersphere about specific things.
Google initially is limiting the timeline for this service but not for long.
The replay feature is rolling out now and will be available globally in English within the next couple days (if you want to try it now, try out this special link). For our initial release, you can explore tweets going back to February 11, 2010, and soon you’ll be able to go back as far as the very first tweet on March 21, 2006.
I think this is pretty cool especially with the upcoming election season. Won’t it be fun to see what candidates said over the past three plus years and compare it to their actual job performance? Boy oh boy, talk about online reputation issues.