I’ve already discussed what Google’s new real-time search means for PRs over on the Wildfire blog. But I make no excuse about covering the subject again here as I think it is such a major development.
I’ve been mulling over some other possible permutations that might be triggered by this move:
Putting Twitter firmly front of mind
This move could bring yet another surge in the popularity of Twitter. Think about it; Google deals with around 300 million searches every day and a big proportion of these will soon see real-time results (the majority of which seem to be Twitter at the moment) towards the top of the listings. This will really propel services like Twitter into the every day online world of a large proportion of the internet population.
Google encroaching on newspapers (again)
Traditionally, if something big happens, consumers flock to traditional news outlets (formerly TV and then the web) to get the low-down. This year, Twitter has started to take on the role of a source of breaking news. But Google’s move here gives consumers another choice and another way to bypass the breaking news service provided by traditional media.
What’s next? Social search
At the moment, the real-time results in Google are a bit messy. Search for something like Le Web and you end up with a very busy stream of content, most of which is fairly meaningless. But these are early days and I think the functionality will develop in two interesting ways. Firstly, Google will offer the ability to rank real-time results by ‘influence’ to try and reduce the amount of noise this way. The other option that I fully expect to see is the ability to view only real-time results from your ‘friends’ or social circle (e.g. Twitter followers or Facebook friends). This again will reduce the amount of noise and make results more relevant.
Reduced importance of SEO?
I’m not certain about this one, but the introduction of additional real estate on search pages, in some instances, further pushes traditional rankings down below the fold. SEO will survive, but in many ways, this reduces it’s influence. Ciaran and others have some interesting thoughts relating to this over at Econsultancy…
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