See real-time Twitter information alongside your Google searches. If you miss Google’s real-time search feature, Hashplug is one way to bring it back – sort of.
Once upon a time Google offered real-time search results, using Twitter. This gave any search up-to-the moment context, which was considered helpful by some and annoying by others. Those who found this annoying shed no tears when the service died. If you felt it was helpful however, and now miss it, good news – a Chrome extension can bring it back. It’s called Hashplug and here’s how it works.
Twitters By Your Googles
I’m not going to pretend this is more complicated than it is. Once you’ve installed Hashplug, it builds itself into Google’s search results page. Do a search and you’ll see it on the right, as highlighted below in yellow:
This will feature both up-to-the-minute tweets regarding your search alongside a few prominent tweets from the past day or so.
I find it fascinating that the plugin links to its Google Plus page below the results and not its Twitter page, but that’s another topic of conversation entirely. Here’s a video overview of Hashplug offered by its creators:
When It’s Useful
So, why would anyone want this? Here are a few ideas off the top of my head:
- Getting a feel for what’s happening in a town you’re planning to visit (above: Boulder).
- Finding out why a particular celebrity is being mentioned online constantly right now.
- Getting the latest on events happening right now, like a hockey game (not applicable during lockouts #firebettman).
- Finding just-released articles on topics you’re interested in – things show up on Twitter before Google, usually.
Of course any of these uses requires a bit more sorting than standard Google results – it’s why this isn’t for everyone.
When It’s Not
One thing real-time search did was figure out from context whether it’s useful in a particular circumstance – it tended to only show up when it was likely to be useful. Hashplug has no such self-awareness: it shows up at the top-right regardless of what you’re searching. And there are many things that don’t need up-to-the-minute feedback. History, for example.
It’s annoying that this simply shows up constantly, and I hope the developers add some kind of way to determine whether or not showing Twitter results is worthwhile for a particular subject. It would make a great plugin perfect.
I like using Rapportive to connect to contacts in Gmail. As I’m writing to someone, I see their recent Twitter activity in the right panel, potentially prompting me to start a conversation about something I see there. I feel like Gmail is made better by this.
For some, I believe, Twitter information alongside searches can make search better. Do you think so? Let’s talk about why (or why not) in the comments below.