Google's new real-time search Web page and the instant search results capabilities spotted in the wild point to the company's vision for the future of search: real-time everywhere.
Two Google news items from last week painted a clear picture
of where Google is in real-time search and where it is going in the future.
The company revamped its real-time search capabilities
and is testing instant search capabilities that update on the fly.
Announced Aug. 26
, the real-time
search upgrades move Twitter tweets and Facebook and MySpace updates on
trending topics from Google's traditional search results pages to their own special
Users may still access real-time search data on Google's
traditional search engine by clicking the "latest" link in the search
filters located in the left-hand rail.
However, users will no longer see real-time results
integrated with standard results. Now real-time results, along with geographic
refinements, a "full conversation" feature and updates contents piped to
Google Alerts, appear here
on Google's Realtime
search Web page.
Google has essentially followed Microsoft Bing's approach
by creating a separate Web page with its own set of search filters, a move that
IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds said is wise.
"Where before you might never be sure that real-time
results would appear at all (depending on your query) and you had no way of
controlling your view of real time results in the little scrolling window that
Google randomly positioned in the page with regular Web page hits, now you have
a full page of real time items and a full palette of filtering tools to help
adjust the view to what you want to see.
"While Google has lost the integration between real time and regular
search results with this redesign (falling back to the same approach
as Bing, who never tried integrating the two), on balance the
outweigh the disadvantages."
While Bing is a big rival here, a surfeit of startups
such as Collecta, Crowdeye, and Twitter, which popularized the real-time search
trend, explicitly search real-time content.
Meanwhile, Google watchers also observed
wild instant search results on Google, which basically surfaces matches content
to users' queries on the fly so that users don't have to click-through to
The results pages change according to the characters the searcher
types into the search box so that Google literally updates the results while
the searcher is typing.
It takes search suggestions to another level, providing a
new dimension to real-time search that ups the efficiency quotient versus Bing,
Yahoo and other major search providers.
Some search engine optimization experts don't view this
as much of a value add for users.
Adam Bunn, head of SEO at search and social marketing
agency Greenlight, questioned the feature's importance beyond the obvious feat
of parallel processing power.
"I'm dubious about the value it adds, and think if
anything, people will be confused and turned off by it. Consequently, however,
Google is measuring success of this, the results probably won't be positive
enough to warrant rolling this out to all."
Bunn argued the SERPS (search engine results pages) being dominated by one domain would
obviously be big news if Google put this feature into full use, making brand
searches that are dominated by one site all but pointless to target with SEO.
Noting that Google experiments with search features all the time, he believes the likelihood of Google rolling out either such a
test is low.
Whether Google does or doesn't add instant search to its search
engine repertoire, it's a sign that Google is trying to evolve the notion of