As Google has worked to add more and more real-time search capabilities by adding content from sites like Facebook, MySpace, Buzz and Twitter, we’ve been able to see more and more what people are talking about online. Google’s latest feature, which it is announcing today, takes real-time data and puts it into a perspective we can work with – the past.
Rather than letting all of this real-time data simply stream past and evaporate into thin air, Google is rolling out a “replay” feature, that lets you look at real-time data – in this case tweets – at any specific time in the past.
The feature offers a timeline of tweets, showing the volume of tweets containing relevant search terms, broken down according to scale. After playing with it for a few minutes, we were able to see that it even gets as narrow as a minute-by-minute breakdown of tweets on a topic. It will be available by clicking on “Show Options” on the left side of the Google search results screen and then “Updates”.
For now, Google says that it will offer tweets going back to February 11, 2010 but will soon extend back to March 21, 2006. The company says that the feature is currently rolling out and should be available globally in English within the next few days, but you can give it a whirl before then.
As Google points out, the “replay” feature may be a great way to explore “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.”
We’re looking forward to seeing what this sort of interaction with real-time data, in the aggregate, will bring to the table. It might not only be an invaluable reporting tool, but a great way to find out when a local restaurant is at its busiest.