For many people, Twitter offers a larger, more diverse stream of constantly flowing data than they’ve ever had to deal with before in their life. Depending on how many people you follow and how much they tweet, the information can become unmanageable. To that end, we have user lists, third-party clients, Twitter tools and search.

And today, it looks like Twitter has begun working on making this last option – search – more useful for its users by offering the ability to percolate popular search results to the top of the page.

Jennifer Van Grove at Mashable noticed an update in the Twitter API Google Group this morning that alerts us of a soon-to-come search feature – popular tweets.

From the post on Google Groups:

Until the popular tweet feature all search results have been sorted
chronologically, most recent results at the top. If a search query has any
popular results, those will be returned at the top, even if they are older
than the other results.

Basically, the API will now offer a variable named “result_type” that can will return either “popular” or “recent”. Programs will be able to use the variable to either return search results with popular tweets at the top as default, show only popular results or show only recent results.

Also added to the Twitter API this week are two other variables for the retweet API.

The first will return up to the first 100 user representations of those who
have retweeted the tweet specified in the url by :status_id.

The second will return just the ids of those retweeters for the cases where

that’s all you care about.

Perhaps these have some sort of implication in how tweets will be deemed popular, but even if not, it could be useful in watching the trickle-down spread of a tweet.