Bitly, the company that basically ushered the world into short links on sites like Twitter, is playing around with a new service, launching it under its “Bitly Labs” umbrella.

It’s called Realtime, and is available at http://www.rt.ly

Here’s what we know:

Realtime (http://rt.ly) is an internet attention ranking engine, giving you powerful tools for analyzing what the world is paying attention to right now. You can filter and explore activity on the social web by topics, phrases, domains, social networks and more.

Very intriguing, don’t you think? If we dissect that small bit of copy, it sounds like Bitly will use all of the data it has stored from shared links and clicks, and rank them in some sort of way. Since these links are spread all of the web, this is something much broader than performing a simple Twitter or Google search.

UPDATE: We’ve gotten access, it’s exactly what we thought it was. Here’s a look:

Full dashboard

Search options

Networks you can search specifically on

A sample search result

This could become a ridiculously powerful tool for finding out what the “pulse” is on basically any topic in any vertical.

Realtime by Bitly