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New Chrome Plugin Measures Twitter's Love, Hate

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Over the course of five years, Twitter has become the clearest indicator of sentiment surrounding a topic. Be it a collection of barbs about Fox's New Girl, love letters to a McDonald's menu item, or seething 140-character diatribes on a Kardashian, Twitter posts reflect the unfiltered emotions of millions.

But to measure the collective perception on a topic, one had to search for a term -- say, Apple or Obama -- and read through a litany of posts to get a general idea of how the online world felt about a particular topic. Well, a new plugin for Google Chrome called Viralheat does the measuring for you automatically.

The plugin adds a status bar to the top of Twitter site. When a user searches for a term, Viralheat measures the sentiment of the tweets that contain the query. In a screenshot provided by Mashable, "Obama" is mentioned in a positive light for 55% of 301 Twitter posts, negatively in 16% of the posts, and in a neutral tone for 29% of the posts.

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As you scroll down, more posts are measured and reflected in the results. So depending on the popularity of the subject, emotion can be gauged by the hour, day, week, etc.

"It really works well for products," Viralheat CEO Raj Kadam told Mashable. "You can put in iPhone or Macbook Pro and quickly get a snapshot of how people feel about that particular product."

The sentiment-measuring process is completely adjustable. Posts that users think are incorrectly marked positive or negative can be changed. Users can also adjust the threshold of sentiment, so that a post isn't rated unless Viralheat is 90% sure of the emotion behind it.

Kadam plans on introducing Viralheat to Firefox and Safari browsers, and hopes to branch out to Facebook, Google+, and possibly Yelp.

Unfortunately, YouTube is an unlikely candidate, since every comment section will be tallied as 99% shockingly ignorant.

(See also: Facebook Exec Accidentally Leaks Secret Info and Pandora Gets Much Needed Overhaul)

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