Litigators Can Focus Social Media Search

Google has announced some updates to their realtime search.  [Here’s the experimental link]  If you are doing a case assessment and gathering information about an event, you may be able to focus on both the keywords and the location of comments made on Twitter.

Type in your search and your results will appear, and update, in real time.  You can use the Google Replay function to go back in time to see Twitter posts.  As of August 22, 2010 or so, you can restrict the search results by a geographic location.  This assumes that the person making the post was identifiable by geographic location.

But Where Are You?

For example, I sent out a Twitter message yesterday about my posting on Bluebook citation.  I can identify the posting using Google’s realtime seach based on keywords.  I can even limit it to posts using the term bluebook citation made in Canada.

Google Results with Canada Geo-location Filter
Google Results with Canada Geo-location Filter

Which is good but Canada is a big place.  But if I use any other location, it misses me.  So be cognizant that the geolocate feature might be able to help you narrow down people who were near the location of an accident or the place of someone’s employment.  Or it may not.  It would be valuable to see the geolocation feature apply to historic “tweets”, and also to get a better sense of whether it is based on where the person was when they sent the message (real-time location) or where their system is based (New York wireless phone account shows “New York” as location even when roaming in Nevada).

Nice Follow Up

Another nice feature is the ability to save your realtime search as a Google Alert.  The link at the bottom says to save an e-mail alert but if you click on the link, you get the normal Google Alert page and can save it as an RSS feed.

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