Gnip is announcing a new product today that provides access to the full database of public tweets from the beginning of time — or rather, the beginning of Twitter. The company says that's only available to Twitter, the Library of Congress, and now Gnip customers. President and COO Chris Moody tells me that this kind of historical data has been a big request from customers. After all, it's nice to track the social impact of a given social campaign or a real-world event, but it would be even better if you could compare that data to a competitor's campaign a few months ago, or the same event last year. Being able to go back in time like that hasn't been possible until now, Moody says. Back in February, Gnip announced that it was the first authorized reseller of historical Twitter data, but the product announced at the time only went back 30 days. The deals for historical data, Moody says, stem from Gnip's partnership to help deliver tweets for archiving in the Library of Congress. The new product, called Historical PowerTrack for Twitter, has been in testing with customers including Esri, Brandwatch, PayPal, Brandwatch, Waggener Edstrom, Network Insights, Union Metrics. Moody says this data opens up a number of new use cases. For one thing, financial firms are developing trading algorithms that incorporate Twitter data, and they can now test those algorithms on data from the past — in other words, if they think they can use social network activity to predict of stock market activity, they now have a giant database for seeing whether that's true. Moody says there are also academic researchers looking at the impact of Twitter activity on the Arab Spring. Although Gnip is the first company to offer this comprehensive historical data, it probably won't be the last — something Moody admits. "We fundamentally believe that social data is going to be in every application," he says. "We're only at 1 percent of the journey. Will historical data be available from other sources? Almost certainly. But in the meantime, we're certainly not standing still."
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