Twitter Scales Back Archive

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Users complaining about Twitter’s disappearing of tweets older than a few weeks will be displeased to hear that now, messages are only kept for seven days before being erased.

Indeed, according to SearchEngineLand, the reason behind it is tied in to Twitter’s massive popularity. It seems that Twitter now sees so much traffic that it’s impossible for the service to store and index much more than a week worth of content from its users. The upshot of this is that, to use the example the folks at SearchEngineLand used, a search for “Happy new year” constrained to the first of this year will return no results… strange stuff indeed.

Of course, this has all been if not common, then fairly accessible knowledge for a little while now. The big difference is that someone has finally managed to get some word from Twitter’s own staff as to just why this might be the case. Twitter’s director of search, Doug Cook, was surprisingly open about the whole affair, saying that,

“… we weren’t growing our search index as fast as the tweet volume was increasing, so it started to represent a decreasing amount of time. In the last couple of days we increased our index size somewhat, so the amount of time will go back up, but there’s going to be a natural ‘yo yo’ effect as the tweet volume increases in advance of our next index size “jump.” As you might guess, we’re working on making this far, far better.”

It’s certainly nice to see them being so honest about the state of indexing, especially when it comes to people not being able to find their own content (a subject that seems to have gotten under people’s skin.

Still, it’s nice to see that they’re trying to keep on top of things

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