Cool Toys Pic of the day – Google Realtime for Reference

Google Realtime:

I tend to assume that folks hear about most of the new things Google
brings out, but maybe I shouldn’t make that assumption. Today someone
on Twitter was telling someone else how to figure out what cool things
they had Twittered last month. Twitter search doesn’t go back that
far. You can try searching in Google, and it may or may not decide to
actually show you something useful. Even if you now it exists, that
doesn’t mean Google will show it to you! Now, me, I have all kinds of
sneaky searching tricks, but when it comes to tracking down old
Tweets, that takes special tricks. Searching in regular Google isn’t
likely to do it.

Google Realtime has been out for over a year, so it isn’t
particularly new, but it is quite useful. I am accustomed to using it
on a regular basis and just didn’t think about, well, telling other
folk! My apologies. What can you do with it? A LOT. But first, the
limitations. When it first came out, I misunderstood and thought
Google Realtime searched all the main social media sites – Twitter,
Facebook statuses, Flickr pics, Youtube videos, blogs, etc. Um, no. I
mean, well, it says it does! It says, “Realtime Search lets you see
up-to-the-second social updates, news articles and blog posts about
hot topics around the world.” But really, when I use it, it is mostly
just Twitter results.

The obvious use is when you want to know what’s going on or being said
right now. Breaking news, hot topics, international crises, sports,
etc. Big buzz here today is the situation with University of Michigan
football coaches. Is he fired or isn’t he? Are they hiring someone new
or aren’t they? Who are they trying to recruit? Who won’t come? Who
might? Who is playing things coy? Buzz, buzz, buzz. It just keeps
scrolling. Heck, you can even make an email alert if you want to be
constantly updated on a really critical topic.

Google Realtime does a fair job with this sort of current events
question, but it can do a lot more. Tracking a hashtag? Check
theTimeline (frequency display in the upper right hand corner) to
find what time of day it peaks. Use the arrows to scroll back a couple
days and find out which day the tag is most used. This is especially
useful if you want to join a formal Twitter chat and aren’t sure when
it is scheduled. In the example screenshot, I show the #hcsm chat,
which has a constant low level buzz all week, and then skyrockets on
Sunday evenings when the formal chat is scheduled. Vavoom! It really
shows in the metrics of Google Realtime.

What about refinding something you ought to remember? That tweet you
sent last month, or the date and time the Dundee tornado hit? Here it
is January, and I could scroll back to last June, focus in on the
specific day, and even a particular time of day, all through using the


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