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Some of the Best Twitter Apps Are Made by Google

Despite having their own microblogging service, Google wasn’t about to be left out of the Twitter festivities this week. They announced two new services today, Replay and Follow Finder, that are some of the best Twitter tools available.

follow finder

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First, Replay. Twitter’s already integrated with Google search, but that only nets you real-time results. What if you want to read chatter during the last State of the Union address, or right after Shaun White nailed that Double McTwist 1260 in Vancouver? Replay lets you zoom back to any day and any time to find out what people were Tweeting about–think of it as a Wayback Machine for Twitter. You’ll see a chart showing the frequency of Tweets on the subject you searched over time. To use Google’s example, say you search for “golden gate park”:

As you can see, there are daily spikes in the afternoon (when
parks are the most fun) and an unusually high spike on March 27.
Clicking on the 27th, you’ll discover it was a sunny Saturday, which may
explain the increased traffic on Twitter. People were tweeting about
disc golf and tennis, biking, riding a party bus, craving chips and
salsa…the kind of local, time-specific information that up until now
would be almost impossible to find online.

But this information will also be really useful for researchers and writers–it’s totally new to be able to zero in on a specific window of conversation at some point in the past. It’s available to use now, though it only goes back a few months. Soon enough, you’ll be able to zoom back to March 2006, when the very first Tweet was Tweeted.

Follow Finder is another surprisingly useful Twitter tool from Google. Enter your Twitter name, and it’ll deliver a list of other Twitter accounts you might be interested in following, largely gleaned from followers/following lists. If you follow comedians Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer, Follow Finder will suggest that you might like to follow Aziz Ansari and Nick Kroll, because most people that follow Huebel and Scheer also follow Ansari and Kroll. Simple, but useful if you want to expand your social network.

Warning: Follow Finder uses the term “Tweeps.” Personally, that’s irritating, in much the same way as Bravo referring to Top Chef competitors as “cheftestants” is a problem for me. But if you’re not bothered by awkward portmanteaus, don’t worry about all that.

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About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law

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