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Big changes for Google real-time search results

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
27 August 2010

realtime-logoBig changes for Google’s dynamic and constantly refreshing stream of real time search results or “updates” vertical.  Google real time search results are now incorporating geographic targeting, so sentiment, attitudes, and buzz can be measured by location.

Also, Google Alerts, Google’s free content monitoring service, now has the option to incorporate real time results in alerts; this includes results from sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz.

With geographically targeted real time results, it’s possible to select results for “nearby” or even type in your customised location.  I’ve tried browsing results by cities and counties in the UK, both are accurate.  They appear to rely on where a user has tagged their location as being, and doesn’t rely on GPS or IP technology to pinpoint accurate geographical location.

Another exciting feature is the ability to easily look back in history at a twitter conversation.  Simply click on the “full conversation” link to view the entire dialogue.

view full conversaion

viewfullconersation-2

“Updates” is also able to look back in history, with a user friendly time line bar.  This means it’s possible to research the history of an event as it unfolds and perhaps get a better sense who the main influencers on a given topic.

timeline

Google isn’t the first social media search engine, we’ve seen niche engines like Technorati for blogs and Ice Rocket for general buzz.  But these engines are niche, they’re for techy insiders.  By Google placing real time results as a high priority they are unlocking social media’s potential to the masses.

Of course, this all plays into universal search equation as well, in which search engine results pages (SERPs) incorporate different verticals like images and real time results into front page results.  These developments introduce millions of Google users to social media, blog post, and news results they would otherwise be unaware of.

One issue worth noting is the inconsistency of Google’s branding of this product.  While they call it “real time search,” the column on the right hand side of results are referred to as “updates.”  Perhaps “updates” is more self explanatory than “real time” to the general Google user, but it’s a blatant inconsistency in branding that needs to be aligned at some point in the future.

Even in the updates column on the right hand side, you can see Google is still experimenting with what priority to give the “updates” vertical.

updates vertical lowupdate vertical high

Ultimately, Google is upping its game in the social media monitory sphere.  Products like MBuzz and Radian 6, and niche engines like Social Mention and Whos Talkin should definitely be worried about the Google introducing their user friendly real time results to the masses.

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