Realtime Search – Take 3

Realtime search has been a little bit of a sore subject for Google. Recently pulled near the introduction of Google+, realtime search has been a learning process for the search giant. In the past year there have been two failed attempts with Google Buzz and Twitter, but with the launch of G+, it appears Google is hoping the third time is the charm.

Initially Google Buzz (launched 2010) was slammed over privacy concerns and it, and its realtime search integration with Google, was killed. Stated in the Intro to Google Buzz, Buzz would “identify posts that may interest you or are popular among your friends and recommends them to you.” Which sounds great, until everyone realized they weren’t too comfortable with strangers seeing their activity…especially under an opt-out strategy.

Then came Twitter integration with your Google searches. It was represented by a discreet box at the top of your search results that showed tweets with keywords similar to your search criteria. It’s how I learned that Sean Kingston had died in a jet skiing accident…and then subsequently learned that he hadn’t. Just when it seemed like the admittedly content-weak Twitter integration was here to stay, Google claimed Twitter didn’t provide the value Google needed (or Twitter had concerns about Google accessing so much of its data…) and the deal was over. Realtime search died.

Then came Google+. As G+ gained 25 million users in a month, about 35 months sooner than Facebook and 20 months sooner than MySpace could, people began asking why there wasn’t a capability in place to search for G+ posts, myself included. When asked, Google responded with a brief, “We are on it.” serving as evidence that realtime search is on its way back. But what will it look like and how will it avoid Buzz’s and Twitter’s fate?

While a dedicated search function for Google+ posts would be amazing and serve as another big blow to Facebook (how many times have you said, ‘Damn it! I know I posted that video to someone’s wall…But whose?!), we’re already starting to see realtime search in a subtler way. If someone you follow has previously shared a link on G+, a short annotation will be seen under the link. Below is an example of an article I read last week that Pete Cashmore shared:

It’s called Social Search, and to anyone familiar with Buzz, this roll out should feel a little like deja vuHowever, thanks to Google’s recent awareness of privacy concerns, G+ integration shouldn’t meet the same fate. While there appears to be no indication (yet) that Google is pushing these results to the top of the page, it’s clear that Google plans to integrate G+ into search.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the near future, we see a realtime search box at the top of the page similar to the Twitter effort. Remember, it was talks with Twitter that ended that effort, not the concept of the realtime box. In addition, an ability to search for G+ posts is a guarantee at this point. How it will be executed is yet to be seen – Would you search for them in Google? Would it be a tab? A subtle drop-down selection in the “Find Friends” bar?

What do you think G+ search integration will look like? Is realtime search a good idea, or should it be put to rest? Let us know in the comment section below!

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