The Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device.
Bethany Clarke—Getty Images
By Victor Luckerson
November 18, 2014

Time to start deleting your embarrassing old tweets—Twitter just made it easy to search every public tweet ever sent.

The social network announced Tuesday that it has completed indexing of every public tweet since 2006, which amounts to about half a trillion messages. A new, more powerful search function will let users search for specific words used by specific users, hashtags used between a set of given dates and other variables. In the past, these types of searches only yielded a portion of the tweets that fit the criteria.

“Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency,” Twitter wrote in a blog post that explains the indexing process for tweets in extreme detail. “But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.”

The more robust archive will eventually affect the basic searches that Twitter users conduct from the site’s homepage. While basic searches currently surface tweets from the last several hours or days as “Top” tweets, the company will soon begin showing older tweets that may also be relevant. Getting people conducting Twitter searches more regularly could boost the company’s revenue, as Twitter already sells ads against keyword searches.

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