It's not much of a secret that Facebook has been looking over Twitter's shoulder and imitating the occasional feature for quite some time. Now, it seems that Google may be doing something similar, as Larry Page made an interesting comment about real-time search recently.
Page put in an appearance at the Google Zeitgeist conference near London, and Loic Le Meur, the founder and CEO of Seesmic, asked his opinion of Twitter.
Page responded by saying, "I have always thought we needed to index the web every second to allow real-time search. At first, my team laughed and did not believe me. With Twitter, now they know they have to do it. Not everybody needs sub-second indexing but people are getting pretty excited about real-time."
Photo via Loic Le Meur
Page added, "People really want to do stuff real time and I think they [Twitter] have done a great job about it. I think we have done a relatively poor job of creating things that work on a per-second basis."
So, although Google's foray into real-time search may turn into just another example of Google throwing spaghetti at a wall, it sounds as if the search giant is going to make ultra-fresh results available under certain circumstances.
Google has come to the realization that real-time search may eventually become more important than its current search index. When an earthquake happens, it's Twitter that has real-time information about it. When someone famous dies (or is even rumored to have died as in the case of Patrick Swayze), it's Twitter that is the relevant search engine. Not Google or even Google News.
Twitter has given people an appetite for real-time information that blows away Google's search results, which are at best hours old. If Twitter won't sell, it's certain that Google will integrate a Google-built, real-time, Twitter-like service into its search results or possibly even create a seperate product to compete directly with Twitter. The success of Gmail gives Google access to millions of beta testers, which enables a competing Google real-time search service to easily hit a critical mass almost immediately.
What Is Real-Time Search to Google?
For now, Google's definition of real-time search is limited to indexing the "conversation" that is happening now and including this content within its search results. This doesn't necessarily mean Twitter, and in fact it probably won't be its real-time search centerpiece. However, one thing is certain: Google believes that real-time search is important to its future and this could change how a search result looks forever.
(Note: WebProNews Publisher Rich Ord contributed to this article.)