One of Twitter’s best features is its search functionality, but it’s always been plagued by one major problem – you can’t search back more than seven days.
That’s useful when all you care about is what’s happening now (or, at least, very recently), but what if you want to look further back? What if you want to re-read all those cool, witty tweets you were sending out years ago?
Well, good news, as Twitter is going to let you start downloading all of your tweets from right back to when you first joined the network.
“We’re working on a tool to let users export all of their tweets,” said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in a meeting with The New York Times on Monday. “You’ll be able to download a file of them.”
Facebook already does this, but Twitter has been strangely hesitant to let its users access what it has repeatedly said is content that belongs to them – even if that position flies against a legal ruling.
Oldtweets, which we profiled earlier this month, is all well and good, but that only lets you see tweets from people who were on Twitter way back when. I’ve done my Twitter time, but I wasn’t on the service until March 2008, and none of my stuff shows up on Oldtweets.
(An interesting aside – the URL oldtweets.com redirects to Twitter.com.)
Of course, looking back at what some (at the time) pretty high-profile folks were tweeting in 2006, seeing your first tweets might be underwhelming. Even horrifying. Still, it would be nice to have the option, and I think it could be a useful timeline of your life, the spontaneity of which might surpass what Facebook is trying to do.
Note that Twitter will only let you export your own tweets, not somebody else’s, as the latter requires a different setup.
“It’s two different search problems,” said Costolo. “It’s a different way of architecting search, going through all tweets of all time. You can’t just put three engineers on it.”
Probably a good thing, as you could imagine that letting anybody download anyone else’s timeline would be (a) a huge drain on Twitter, the system and (b) a spammer/marketer/stalker’s dream. Still, a historical, all-tweets-included and fully searchable Twitter.com is the utopia which to which we all aspire.
No word yet on when this new tool will be released, but is it something that you think you’ll use? Hit the comments to let us know.
(Download button image via Shutterstock.)