On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey wrote the first ever tweet.
“Just setting up my twttr,” he wrote. And the world was never the same again.
Fast-forward to the heady days of November, 2014, and Twitter now sees some 500 million tweets published each and every day. That’s a lot to keep up with.
Thankfully, we have Twitter Search, which gives everyone easy access to the history of tweets. That history used to be limited to just a selection of posts, but as of yesterday, Twitter is now indexing every tweet every published, from Dorsey’s historic first message to that hilarious cat GIF you just posted a few seconds ago.
Previously the full index of tweets was only available (publicly) on Topsy, but it always seemed strange that Twitter wasn’t doing this themselves. Topsy was acquired by Apple in December last year, and I wonder if that move forced Twitter to get their act together. Twitter Search has always been an underused aspect of the service, but even for fans the partial selection that was available meant that it was often a frustrating experience.
Now, anyone can go back and search for anything, ever, and look at how key events in recent history (worldwide or personal) unfolded in real time. When you think about it that’s an incredible asset for humanity.
Head on over to the Twitter engineering blog for a detailed look at how they’ve sorted everything out, which by all accounts was a mammoth task.
Since that first simple Tweet over eight years ago, hundreds of billions of Tweets have captured everyday human experiences and major historical events. Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency. But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.
This new infrastructure enables many use cases, providing comprehensive results for entire TV and sports seasons, conferences (#TEDGlobal), industry discussions (#MobilePayments), places, businesses and long-lived hashtag conversations across topics, such as #JapanEarthquake, #Election2012, #ScotlandDecides, #HongKong,#Ferguson and many more. This change will be rolling out to users over the next few days.
just setting up my twttr
— Jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
(Source: Twitter Blog.)