Opt-in beta of "Popular Tweets" for the Search API now available

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Taylor Singletary

Apr 1, 2010, 8:53:27 PM4/1/10
to twitter-api-announce, twitter-development-talk
Hi Folks,

As indicated a few weeks ago, we're launching our new beta enhancements to search.twitter.com and the Search API today -- it's currently rolling out to our servers. Thank you all for your feedback.

Key API Takeaways:
  - During the current phase, receiving "popular tweets" in your API search results is OPT-IN. You will not see the new top results in search  unless you specify the result_type parameter on your search query string.
  - The result_type parameter takes one of three values:
    * mixed - receive both "popular tweets" and most recent tweets for the query. This is the equivalent of the future default behavior.
    * popular - receive only "popular tweets" for the query.
    * recent - receive only recent results for the query. This is the equivalent of the behavior you've come to expect until present
  - Each tweet in a search result will now contain a metadata node, with a field called 'result_type' that indicates whether the tweet is "popular" or "recent". In the future, there may be other result_types. The metadata node will eventually contain other fields as well.
  - In addition to result_type, the metadata node may also include a 'recent_retweets' field indicating the number of retweets the tweet has received recently, rounded to a reasonable integer.
  - This metadata field will now appear in search results regardless of your OPT-IN status on the popular tweets feature. You don't have to do anything to receive this new metadata along with tweets in search results. In JSON, the metadata field is simply "metadata." In XML, you'll see it expressed as "<twitter:metadata>".
Continued Discussion:

To date, Twitter's real-time search has proven to be incredibly valuable. People, businesses and organizations have come to depend on finding out what's being discussed about a particular topic right now.

We've been really impressed at the integrations many of you have developed using the Search API. Whether it's offering search columns in a Twitter client, mapping #hashtags to search, or deep analysis of trends and brand monitoring, you've shown us what's possible with Twitter search.
With this new project, we want to make real-time search even more valuable by surfacing the best tweets about a particular topic, by considering recency, but also the interactions on a tweet. This means analyzing the author's profile, as well as the number times the tweet has been retweeted, favorited, replied, and more. It's an evolving algorithm that we'll be iterating on & tuning until practically the end of time.

With this initial release, if we detect that there are particularly interesting & relevant tweets for a given query, we'll display at most 3 of these tweets at the top of the page. We'll also display the number of times these tweets have been recently retweeted as well.

You can check out http://search.twitter.com to see our new beta relevancy results now. Using the new features of the API we're launching today, you could build a similar interface for the popular results but we're expecting awesome & creative uses of these new result types, not necessarily limited to user-facing features. 

Explore the new result formats and options in the updated Search API documentation: http://apiwiki.twitter.com/Twitter-Search-API-Method%3A-search and our original post on the subject: http://groups.google.com/group/twitter-api-announce/browse_thread/thread/983086ae9935d50c

Happy Hacking!

Taylor Singletary
Developer Advocate, Twitter
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