Google Rolls Out Two New Twitter Tools

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Google announced two new Twitter projects yesterday, presumably to coincide with Twitter's Chirp conference which began yesterday and runs through today.

The first is the ability to see a term's popularity on Twitter over time, and even 'replay' tweets that include that term. You search on a term in Google, click the Show Options link and then choose Updates (this part works now, in case you haven't tried it – I hadn't). You'll start seeing tweets in real time, or very nearly so. Above the search results you'll see a timeline that indicates visually how often your search term is being tweeted. You can drag a cursor back and forth along the timeline and the search results will change to show tweets from that period of time. You can scale the timeline to show the current year, current month, or current 24 hour period. It's easier experienced than described, and to that end Google has set up a test page where you can try it now.

Searching Twitter from Google already seems a lot "cleaner" than searching Twitter from Twitter and as a bonus, "Promoted Tweets" don't show up in Google (though I suppose that may change). The timeline will improve the experience even more.

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The second Twitter feature Google added is called Google Follow Finder. This is fairly typical twitter tool of the "find people to follow" variety. Enter your twitter name, hit submit and you get two columns of twitter users. One is "Tweeps you might like" and the other is "Tweeps with similar followers." I didn't find this tool to be all that useful. Most of the suggested users weren't of interest to me; the tool seemed to think I was a Mac fan since quite a few of the highest-ranked suggestions were people from MacBreak Weekly. Boy, when Google gets it wrong, Google really gets it wrong. Beyond the first handful, there were people I am interested in...but I'm already Following them! Clearly the tool needs some fine tuning and some filters, but if you're just getting started it might be of some help. When you do find someone to Follow, you're supposed to be able to Follow them right from the site (the UI for this is currently in place but I got an error when I tried to use it).

The second column was in some ways more interesting in that it reaffirmed what I'm always telling people about Twitter: that used properly it can be a community. Just about everyone on this list was a Twitter-friend of mine and it was nice to know we're all following each other. Google Follow Finder is a GoogleLabs project, and a newly launched one, so these rough spots are to be expected. Hopefully Google can polish this up and make it into a really useful tool.

You can read the official Google blog for more details about these two new services. Replay it: Google search across the Twitter archive and Google Follow Finder: Find some sweet tweeps.

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