In early July, Google discontinued its Realtime search feature. The company recently confirmed, however, that they will be using Google+ data to bring the feature back – along with an internal search for Google+.
Realtime Search and Google+
Google’s specialized Realtime search engine allowed users to get information from social networks, and most notably Twitter, as soon as it happened. Realtime also imported a stream of data for standard searches related to major world events, ranging from the Royal Wedding to Osama Bin Laden’s death. It looked like this:
Realtime was shut down in July because Twitter and Google couldn’t come to agreeable terms for the re-upping of their contract. Google indicated that they were interested in continuing both their relationship with Twitter and their Realtime search services, although Google+ was a likely candidate for a new data stream.
Plans were confirmed in a search panel in Mountain View, California, where Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, responded to questions about the fate of Realtime search. Singhal indicated that the company was in the process of bringing the service back and integrating Google+ data into the stream. Other social services are also intended as a part of the “new” realtime search, although exact details haven’t been released.
Alongside this effort, Google is working on an internal search for Google+ that lets users search through the stream for interesting public posts. This feature has been in demand since Plus’s launch, and Singhal has indicated that “we [Google] are on it.”
Since the new Realtime search is expected to be bumped to the front page, much like Places or image data, this works as a way for Google to cross-promote its content. It also falls into the same category as the antitrust concerns currently being reviewed in both the U.S. and Europe, which are focused on whether Google is unfairly favoring its own sites and services.
Will Google realtime even matter without Twitter? As Marketing Pilgrim noted, “even once (if) Google+ becomes heavily trafficked, it’s likely that the postings will resemble those you find on Facebook. Google already admitted, that Facebook wasn’t very effective as a real-time news source, so how is Google+ going to be any better?”
Tell us what you think about the return of Google Realtime in the comments.