Right here, right now, right here, right now…

Posted on December 8, 2009


Finding useful information - like finding a needle in a haystack?


If a normal search engine didn’t bring you information that was up-to-the-second enough, Google have now launched a solution – but will it give you what you want?  

The internet giant has launched a real-time search function, which will bring up pages pretty much as they are created. This is something pretty significant in itself, but what’s most interesting is this – the search will include Twitter, Facebook and MySpace updates. 

Hang on. Surely if you wanted to know what people were saying about things on Twitter, you would just do a search on Twitter? 

Google is keeping its cards pretty close to its chest on how much (if any) money has changed hands, but Facebook has said that they’re not making any money out of it. This is because the information they’re giving to Google is data from public profiles that could technically be seen by anyone. 

Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice-president of search, told BBC news

“This is a technical marvel, getting all these updates in seconds, making them searchable right after they are posted and making them available so that anyone in the world can find them. 

“The updates (on Twitter) are so truthful and so in the moment. That is a really, really powerful part of this. Are you at this event right now? Are you on this ski slope right now? And because of that ‘right now’ element of it, this is hugely valuable data.” 

Interesting theory. It’s a great technological development – with over a billion pages on the web, getting such a volume of data together is certainly impressive. And this data will be available to view on smart phones so you can be up-to-the-second, on-the-go, all-the-time. 

Does anybody want this? 

The problem of it being so up-to-date isn’t the problem. It’s that it’s including “data” made by people saying whatever, whenever. The power of the wider masses comes in; the filtering of the junk goes out. 

It may lead to better journalism, with fantastic insights from people there, in the moment, sharing their thoughts. It may lead to one big mess where you have to wade through three hundred pages of search before you get to anything longer (and more credible) than 140 characters if you accidentally type a trending topic into Google. It may drive me to use advanced search and remove the word Twitter every time I want to find something. 

Image from naughty architect‘s photostream.

Posted in: comment