After being missing for over a year Twitter’s ‘Track’ facility is back. The feature, which allows you to follow keywords in the same way you follow other users, is much-missed by those who have used the service long enough to remember it. Twitter withdrew the service because, they claimed, it was too much of a strain on their system.
Now a new feature of Twitter’s API has brought Track back. This new incarnation, currently in alpha testing, allows users to follow up to twenty keywords and have them delivered the same way as tweets from users they are following. Once the feature has been thoroughly tested by a limited number of developers, it’s likely that it will be integrated into your favourite Twitter client.
The question is, will you use it? When Track was disabled some users felt a key function of Twitter, monitoring popular topics of conversation, had been lost. Now we live in different times. Twitter Search and keyword trend monitoring have been built into many Twitter clients and even Twitter’s own web interface makes them easily available.
The Track facility will be realtime, unlike Twitter Search which often suffers delays. Still, it’s probably more useful to save a keyword search column in Tweetdeck for monitoring a topic than it is to have its results mixed in with your main feed. Keyword addicts who need search results sent by SMS to their phones will rejoice at the return of track. Everyone else will more than likely shrug and move on.
Developers can read about Track and Twitter’s Streaming API here.
[via Stay ‘n’ Alive]