UPDATE (Dec 9, 2009): When I did a Google search this morning, having just launched Firefox, it appeared Google was integrating the real-time search after the “News results for….” by default, and it included a little scrollbar:
However, just checking here at 5:38PM PST, it appears that real-time search doesn’t show by default but is revealed by clicking the “Show options” link beneath Google’s logo:
and then selecting “Latest” to see the streaming real-time results.
So it appears they’re still fine tuning….
ORIGINAL POST: Dec 8, 2009: Today Google announced the rollout over the next couple of days of real-time search, blending content from their index with real-time feeds from Twitter, FriendFeed, MySpace, Facebook, as well as blogs. This comes right on the heels of Microsoft Bing’s rollout of a similar but more limited feature last week, which they originally announced on October 29. Although Google’s real-time search is not “officially” live yet, you can check it out here. Below is what Google’s real-time feed looks like.
To test it out for myself, I first tweeted about the Univ of MD Medical Center, then immediately did a real-time search on “Univ of MD Medical Center” and, after about a minute, my tweet rolled out on the results page:
Notice on the left the various options for vertical searches targeting specific sources. Below those are options for the time period you wish to limit your results to (Latest, Past hour, Past 24 hours, Past week, etc.).
Google’s Real-time Search Compared to Bing’s Twitter Search
A head-to-head comparison of Google’s real-time offering to Bing’s has Google on top. Bing only has real-time results from Twitter, and there are no vertical search or time-period options. Also, whereas on Google’s results page the real-time results are blended with the indexed results, Bing has a different page where you can search the Twitter stream.
Google’s Matt Cutts, in a post on his blog today, gave an overview of a number of new Google products and features, and said the following about the real-time search:
To get to real-time search, you’ll click the “Show options” link above the search results. Then you’ll see a “Latest” option. Looks like there’s also an “Updates” link to restrict it to updates from sites like Twitter, FriendFeed, etc. Real-time search works on mobile (iPhone, Android) too. Google will add really-hot topics to the Hot Trends page to see these real-time updates.
Fears of Real-time Spam Abuse
Almost immediately there were rumblings about the potential for spam abuse in real-time search. In his post entitled “Google launches a new spam industry” blogger Michael Martinez says:
You’ll soon be seeing artificially managed TweetNetworks that offer to put anything into real-time search results. The spam technologies have already been developed. The text databases have already been constructed. Once again, the search spam industry has anticipated where the search engines will go and laid the foundations for a new war of wills.
And he’s probably right. But Google has been pretty good at heading off spammers and search-engine scammers thus far, although, as Michael implies, it’s a never-ending battle. However, Google Fellow Amit Singhal, “master of Google’s algorithm” is confident that they can outsmart those trying to scam Google’s results. When asked today about how Google will filter results, he responded, “PageRank is one of over 200 signals that we use in ranking. Lots of new technologies (e.g. language modelling) also developed for real-time search.” To which Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of Search Product and User Experience, added “PageRank is about authoritativeness. There are similar signals (retweets, replies) in the update space.”
I think this is a pretty exciting development, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Bing / Google competition heats up in this new search space. So far, it appears Google is in the lead, but the race has just begun….
- Google Launches Real-Time Search (Mashable)
- Google launches a new spam industry (SEO Theory)
- Google’s YouTube Video Promoting Real-time Search
- Blogging the Google Search event, December 2009 (Matt Cutts Blog)
- Relevance meets the real-time web (Official Google Blog)
- Google v. Bing – Study finds Google returns more relevant results (ineedhits blog)
- Why Google is Vulnerable to the Feds, not Microsoft Bing (eWeek)
- Google’s real-time search ready to challenge Bing (PC World)
- Microsoft Bing says it won’t chase Google’s real-time search (USA Today)
- What Google’s Launch of Real-time Search Means for Marketers (HubSpot)