Over at the Twitter API announcements Google group, Twitter developer advocate Taylor Singletary has written about a beta project that their search team is working on that will rank results by popularity (as opposed to reverse-chronologically as they are now).
The Search team is working on a beta project that returns the most popularÂ tweets for a query, rather than only the most recent tweets. This is a betaÂ project, but an important first step to surface the most popular tweets forÂ users searching Twitter.
You can expect many improvements as we tune and tweak our algorithms, but weÂ want to give everyone a heads up so we can go over the implications forÂ those consuming the search API.
It’s unclear how exactly they are going to define what it is that classes a tweet as popular. People rarely click on individual tweets, so that metric isn’t going to work at all. My guess is it’s likely to be based heavily on retweets, perhaps held up against network size, which means that Justin Bieber is going to be your authority on everything.
For everybody’s sake, let’s hope they’re also working on an algorithm to counter that, too.
(Hat tip to Mashable.)