Google has launched a new search option that allows users to look at an archive of tweets on any given topic in a timeline format. Users can essentially "replay" the public Twitter conversation in th order in which it each piece occurred.
To utilize the feature, users can go to "show options" on a search results page, and select "updates". There's a chart at the top of the page that lets you select the year, month, or day, or click any point to view tweets from that time period.
"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," says Dylan Casey, Google's Product Manager for Real-Time Search. "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."
The chart also lets you see how much Twitter activity took place around that topic at any given time. Naturally, you're more likely to get more information during these spikes.
"By replaying tweets, you can explore any topic that people have discussed on Twitter," says Casey. "Want to know how the news broke about health care legislation in Congress, what people were saying about Justice Paul Stevens’ retirement or what people were tweeting during your own marathon run? These are the kinds of things you can explore with the new updates mode."
"All of us are just beginning to understand the many ways real-time information and short-form web content will be useful in the future, and we think being able to make use of historical information is an important part of that," he adds.
The feature is in the process of rolling out. It will be available around the world in the next few days. If you can't wait, you can check it out here.