The rise of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, with their constant streams of fresh user updates have given rise to a new type of web search engine that is challenging Google’s dominance in the area of internet search – the real-time search engine.
According to a recent Wired.com article, the internet is changing rapidly thanks to the popularity of social networks and social media.
People are increasingly searching the web for fresh, up-to-the-minute information on timely topics like celebrity gossip, current news events, profile updates from family and friends, current political events ( ex. Iranian election protests ). Web metrics show that searches for these types of subjects is rising.
It is commonly called the “real-time” web.
The real-time web is shaking up the internet as we have experienced it in the past, and it’s a trend that Google needs to take seriously if it wants to compete in this new search engine arena.
For over a decade, Google has indexed the internet by determining which site had credibility. Google measures the popularity of sites in part by measuring the links that point to them, a big part in Google’s PageRank measurement.
Google checks to see whether a site grew in popularity naturally, which tends to show credibility. However, if a site gets a lot of inbound links overnight, it’s could be due to link spamming, a practice that is frowned upon by the Google search algorithm.
In contrast, real-time web search works the opposite. Real-time search is about “trending topics” and current news items — which can create a huge number of inbound links and comments in minutes. Real-time search engines can’t wait days to determine what is the most popular real-time news source or blog post.
People who search the real-time web want to know the source of trending topics immediately.
Real-time search engines like OneRiot, Tweetmeme, CrowdEye, Topsy, Scoopler, and Collecta are in the process of redefining what the rules that determine what makes a current piece of information on the web relevant.
The majority of these up and coming real-time search engines use Twitter data to drive their search results. Whenever an explosion of Twitter tweets on a particular topic or site links emerge, it’s considered a “signaling event” for trending topics on real-time search engines.
Collecta’s CTO Jack Moffitt says: “We want to be limited only by the speed of light.”
Search results on the real-time web is vastly different from those on a typical search engine. If you search for a celebrity on a traditional engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing, the majority of the search results stay constant from day to day.
Rankings change slowly on a traditional web search. However, real-time search engines serve fresh results by the minute.
Developers of real-time search engines say that their goal isn’t to answer questions like Google, Yahoo and Bing do, but rather to give people a fresh snapshot of current web buzz.
In a nutshell, Google is still top dog when it comes to topical research, but a new group of real-time search engines are better equipped to give you a front row seat at the global water cooler.