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How to set up TwitterSpy in Google Talk

An enterprising developer has brought the Track feature back to Twitter! As I have written before, Twitter Track lets you follow keywords or subjects. This is important to grok. Tell GTalk ‘track silverlight’ and any Tweet containing the word silverlight, no matter whether it is in your twitter stream of followers or not will show up in GTalk. This is huge and lets find people talking about subjects you are interested in. Really the greatest way to find people with like interests as well as the experts on topics.

It was awesome! Then, Twitter disabled it a month or so ago for reasons they say are related to performance. Serious drag for power users and completely breaks my Ultimate Twitter Client. We got some of the features back with a 3rd party tool called Summize. Summize lets you create a search string and gives you real time results. This allows you to keep a browser tab open to Summize with your search query. Summize will then update the page to tell you there are new results. Here, for example, is how I track tweets containing my user name (either a direct @techlifeweb or the word techlifeweb somewhere within the tweet) but not tweets that I post:

summize1

If I leave the results open and another result is later found, the screen will update to show:

summize2

Summize has a whole set of operators that you can string together to help you find what you are looking for. Read more: Summize Operators. On a side note, Twitter may be obtaining Summize, according to TechCrunch this afternoon.

TwitterSpy gives you a mashup of XMPP (the IM protocol that Google Talk/Chat uses) and Summize data. This lets you track query strings through your IM client rather than having to refresh a tab all the time. It also extends Summize to other devices that you can use IM on (e.g., Blackberry).

To get it set up in Google Chat (the IM feature with in GMail. This will work for Google Talk as well):

1. In Gmail, go to the chat sidebar and paste in twitterspy@jabber.org

2. In the popover that opens, click Invite to Chat

twitterspy1

3. You will get another window, click Send Invites

twitterspy2

This will generate an auto response for twitterspy and twitterspy will then become a friend that you can IM with. First thing to do is IM ‘help’ (no quotes) and you will get a list of the things you can do:

off    Disable updates.
on    Activate updates.
track    Track a topic (summize query string)
tracks    List your tracks.
untrack    Stop tracking a topic

For example, if I want to create a query like the one above, I simply IM: track techlifeweb -from:techlifeweb

So glad to have at least pseudo-track back! We’ll see what happens if a Twitter/Summize merger goes forward.

UPDATE 19JUL08: Many changes have been made to TwitterSpy. Typing help:

autopost    Enable or disable autopost
follow    Follow a user
help    Get help for commands.
lang    Set your language.
leave    Leave (stop following) a user
off    Disable updates.
on    Activate updates.
post    Post a message to twitter.
search    Perform a sample search (but do not track)
track    Track a topic (summize query string)
tracks    List your tracks.
twlogin    Set your twitter username and password (use at your own risk)
twlogout    Discard your twitter credentials
untrack    Stop tracking a topic
watch_friends    Enable or disable watching friends.
whois    Find out who a particular user is.

You can then then use twlogin to log into twitter via TwitterSpy in Gtalk. Then you can post new messages to Twitter. Only slight difference at present is you need to type the word ‘post’ before you tweet. For example: post Hello World will show up in Twitter as Hello World. The command ‘post’ does not count toward your 140 character count.

The command ‘watch_friends on’ will allow you to see all your friends tweets. This is cool but things can really fly by at times. I still prefer the Hahlo web page when I am at my computer.

Also, I meant to link to this in the original post, see Rob La Gesse’s excellent post on Twitter and Track for one of the best explanations I’ve seen to help people ‘get’ Track.


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29 Comments »

  1. I just spent 2 hours writing a script to do the exact same thing (for one user). Why didn’t I find this sooner?

    Comment by Andrew Bashore — July 8, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

  2. [...] one hour after I finished writing the script a came across an article about a service called Twitterspy that now does the same thing. I still will probably use my script [...]

    Pingback by Twitter Pseudotrack » Georgology — July 8, 2008 @ 11:30 pm

  3. This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    THis says it all: I say What?

    twitterspy@jabber.org

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    PERM_FAILURE: Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown in local recipient table (state 14).

    —– Original message —–

    Comment by Mike Cunningham — July 12, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  4. @Mike Cunningham, I don’t understand what you mean. Did you try to email twitterspy@jabber.org? It isn’t an email address.

    Comment by admin — July 12, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

  5. I’m getting the same failure message.

    Comment by WTL — July 22, 2008 @ 11:39 am

  6. Hmmm… I’ll see what I can find out.

    Comment by admin — July 22, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  7. Why does it say ‘twlogin Set your twitter username and password (use at your own risk)’? What risk is that?

    Comment by Christopher — August 7, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  8. I must be doing something wrong, not getting any updates from twitterspy on gtalk. Have turned on ‘activate updates’. Twhirl works fine, almost no latency.

    Comment by Christopher — August 7, 2008 @ 1:03 pm

  9. Christopher, are you doing a track in twitterspy? like ‘track twitterspy’?

    You don’t have to twlogin, that is just if you want to also post through twitterspy.

    Post questions on twitter an the author will find you as long as you use twitterspy somewhere in your tweet because he tracks twitterspy

    Comment by admin — August 7, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  10. [...] For those who miss the “track” feature on Twitter: “help track”. (more info on TwitterSpy). [...]

    Pingback by Cross-Posting Etiquette: A Few Ways To Stay Connected | SheenOnline — August 12, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  11. [...] if a user is replying to another user. In fact, even today you can use an XMPP tracker like Twitter Spy and Laconica Spy and track your username and get notified when a person mentions your username, [...]

    Pingback by With Threaded Replies, Do We Really Need the ‘@’? | Stay N' Alive — August 15, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  12. [...] with “hacks” such as Summize search (now acquired and called Twitter search) and Twitterspy, which relies on the former. This is not track. This is a hack. I’m not knocking the authors [...]

    Pingback by After 4 Months, Has Twitter Improved? | Bwana.org — September 10, 2008 @ 8:55 am

  13. Thanks for this feature

    Comment by Moti — September 24, 2008 @ 1:39 am

  14. [...] TwitterSpy is a popular option (I use IdentiSpy for tracking on identi.ca). It is an XMPP jabber bot with lots of features. [...]

    Pingback by Twitter 2008: Get Used To It (Goodbye IM/Track) | Bwana.org — October 12, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  15. I just tried to get TwitterSpy working with GMail
    and after sending the chat invitation I got a bounce
    message saying that:
    “Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown in local recipient table (state 14).”

    Basically it says that this email address does not exist.
    Did it change or the TwitterSpy is no longer operational?

    Comment by Krzysztof Jarecki — October 29, 2008 @ 5:58 am

  16. There needs to be a step 4 that shows how to use the twlogin command. As it is this is a useless article.

    Comment by Grrrrrrrrr — November 30, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  17. Best Twitter For Blackberry…

    I use GoogleTalk with Twitterspy. Twitterspy isn’t something you down load. Basically you get and send your IMs to/through Twitterspy. Basically Twitterspy shows up as one of your IM contacts in Googl……

    Trackback by BlackBerryForums.com : Your Number One BlackBerry Community — January 15, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

  18. It doesn’t work. I get the same bounce message when I try to add twitterspy to chat

    Comment by Keith Barrett — January 19, 2009 @ 5:47 am

  19. I got nothing..I added twitterspy to my gchat, no response. It’s dead?

    Comment by Bodhi — January 21, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  20. [...] Gtalk uses an open protocol, XMPP, allowing users of other XMPP clients to communicate with Google Talk users. This is interesting because its the very reason why you can use Gtalk for so much more than just an IM, for example to update to Ping.fm, receive your Friendfeed updates, and track Twitter topics through Twitterspy.  [...]

    Pingback by My 5 Favorite Google tools & Why | PeterEfland.com — February 3, 2009 @ 1:13 am

  21. [...] Here is an intuitive howto for setting up TwitterSpy. [...]

    Pingback by How not to miss another reply? « Prove that real but not virtual — February 19, 2009 @ 6:49 am

  22. [...] In the wake of Track, a developer created a service called TwitterSpy which let you use Google Talk to perform similar functions to that of Twitter’s Track. I’ve written about this before in my how to on setting up TwitterSpy and Google Talk. [...]

    Pingback by How to Build An Information Monitor — February 19, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  23. watch_friends needs an argument which can be “on” or “off”.

    Comment by Mike Greifeneder — March 6, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  24. [...] to keep track of my microblogging, i found a few services that i couldn’t do without, twitterspy, and identispy. these tools allow you to track terms on identi.ca and twitter without having to [...]

    Pingback by My current microblogging setup :: Red Red Design :: Studio Blog — March 11, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

  25. I tried adding twitterspy@jabber.org, I got the
    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    twitterspy@jabber.org

    Is twitterspy not operational anymore?! Please let me know!

    Comment by Arun — April 4, 2009 @ 7:24 am

  26. [...] solution included Twitterrific, RSS feeds, MicroPlaza for meme tracking of external links, TwitterSpy via Adium for search tracking, Safari 140, and Newsfire for posting, and Growl for desktop [...]

    Pingback by Nambu Solves Twitter Clutter — June 23, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  27. Hi,
    I sent an invite to twitterspy@jabber.org to chat to configure to get messages from my twitter account, but it bounced back, with msg:
    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
    twitterspy@jabber.org
    Technical details of permanent failure:
    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown in local recipient table (state 14).
    Any known issues here? Is this still functional?

    Comment by Sunil — December 30, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  28. [...] twitter-bot called Twitterspy to link my Blackberry Google Talk client to Twitter, mostly following these simple instructionsThe steps are dead easy, open Gmail on your PC or Google Talk on your Blackberry, and then select [...]

    Pingback by Ewan's Blog on IT and stuff like it » Blog Archive » Using Blackberry Google Talk client to receive twitter notifications instead of SMS — March 21, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

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