Twitter has just updated its iOS, Android and mobile web apps as well as its main website and will now start showing older tweets in a search. The ability is being rolled out slowly as might be expected with something new and of this magnitude.
Search results on Twitter have since been limited to tweets that were posted only within a week. This update to the service is supposed to increase that period by a considerable amount, although the micro-blogging website doesn’t specify what kind of broadening we are looking at.
Still, the older entries that will surface represent a very small portion of all the character-limited lines ever tweeted. For this reason they will be displayed based on a concise ranking system that’s dependent on a variety of factors. It is taken into consideration how engaging a certain tweet is, and things like favorites, retweets and clicks are together analyzed to determine the usefulness of a tiny message.
Paul Burstein, an engineer working on search infrastructure with the micro-blogging website, writes on the official Twitter Blog that the update will be seen in a gradual fashion. The percentage of tweets taken into consideration will be slowly increased with time. And this is done with the aim of ensuring people get more relevant details when they look for past messages via the mobile apps.
A separate blog post details a few other changes made to the Android and iOS apps and to the mobile version of the site. All content will appear in Discover as a single stream and on the iPhone there is a new search button (this was already available on Android and iPad versions). The Connect tab gets a new default view, while clicking on a linked URL in a tweet will take users directly to that website.
So these new features packed into the mobile experience strive to make things simpler. But are they really fresh? Facebook did it with Graph, although that has a completely different feel to it. This function allows users to put in more fluid phrases in simple language instead of focusing on specific key words in order to display results.
With the ability to download their entire archive of tweets already available at users’ fingertips, the Twitter update for better search and to display older tweets is a nice addition.