It was big news last year when both Bing and Google announced they had struck a deal with Twitter. Both would make use of the Twitter fire hose to spread the words we were all sending out through Twitter.
Google chose to go for the integrated results. Real time results show up in the 'regular' search results. Somewhere below the fold, when the topic is 'hot' enough and when the search is related enough, the real time tweets show up.
Bing decided to go the other way. They opened a specific page for Twitter searches, deciding not to let the results interfere with the regular results.
The first responses were in Google's favor. The way Google went was the way to go. With results integrated into the result page, combined with the huge advantage in market share, Google would surely win this battle for the real time searcher. After all, why go to a separate page, when it's right there, in the middle of the search results?
The future, however, might show a different look. Bing might have chosen the best route to go. Most probably even without knowing it themselves.
Oneupweb performed a study which shows that the real time results in Google are overlooked by most users. The eye tracking study showed that the two groups they compared, consumers and information foragers both mostly ignore the real time results. Information foragers click on them a little more than consumers, but the study shows that while the real time results are there, they're mainly unnoticed.
The outcome showed some surprising results:
- The consumer group averaged 9 seconds to the first fixation on real-time results, whereas the information foragers took a full 14 seconds.
- The consumer group had 10 percent fewer clicks on the real-time results than their information foraging counterparts.
- Only 55 percent of the participants could easily find the real-time results.
So if you look at these results, Google seems to be going at the real time results the wrong way. However, it could be that Bing has struck gold. In the future, users might turn to that specific page showing specific real time results.
LeapFish CEO and Founder Behnam Behrouzi sees chances for real time search engines like his own:
"There are two types of real time searches," Behrouzi said. "One occurs passively when the user is searching for a specific, potentially non real-time topic and they are offered real time results. The second occurs when a user is actively looking for a real time search experience for a particular topic. Including real time results in SERPs only addresses the first type of real time search, because it is an inadequate experience real-time content. The second type of real time search must be answered with a more multimedia experience that not only captures the piece of news occurring in real-time but also delivers the key imagery, video and opinions that users are looking for when actively performing a real-time search."
With the different kind of users in mind and the Oneupweb research in hand, he could be right. And that could make Bing a winner, too. Bing could be one of the real time search engines and compete with the likes of LeapFish and OneRiot here. Or will Google have another trick up their sleeve?
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