How twitter could be a threat to Google – Real time search vs historical search

This is an insightful article O’Brien: How Twitter could be a threat to Google and I totally agree with it. Read Write Web had a similar post Sorry Google – you missed the real time web and Twitter Finally Integrates Its Real-Time Search Engine

I had also said before a while ago(in another context) i.e. P2P – How can telecoms industry counter Google? By making the biggest strength of Google to be it’s biggest weakness – it’s data centres.

P2P may be Google’s biggest weakness and an Operator’s biggest asset

In that sense, I find the O Brein article very interesting indeed.

In fact, the motto posted on Twitter’s search page ( says, “See what’s happening — right now.” And many people do exactly that. During a live event or amid breaking news, a growing number of people are turning to Twitter search to follow the conversations among its users.

The Operative word being ‘Right now’ and ‘Real time’

Thats some thing Google cannot do – and may struggle to do because it depends so much on data being indexed (and real time data has a different characteristic and cannot be indexed)

And the article goes on to add more to imply that ‘non real time search’ may be boring and may have a lower premium

I’ve used Summize, and now Twitter search, on almost a daily basis over the past year, without even really thinking about how much I relied on it. It was only some recent, random conversations back in January that crystallized how important Twitter search had become to me — and to Twitter itself.

For instance, search could point to a solution to Twitter’s business model problem. In public, founder Ev Williams has dropped hints that the company is trying to find interesting ways to mine its treasure trove of data to create some kind of services that might be valuable enough to entice businesses to actually pay to use them.

Certainly Google has shown that search data can be a powerhouse when linked to related advertising. So perhaps Twitter search will allow that company to produce some new kind of advertising that is more immediate and time-sensitive, related to products people might need RIGHT NOW!

We’ll see. The emergence of real-time search also certainly says a lot about us, and how our increasingly wired society is becoming ever more hyperkinetic. In this world, compared with Twitter, Google suddenly begins to feel old and plodding. Its search results might be minutes, hours, or even days old. Yawn!

I agree overall to the thoughts above and I believe that Real time web and Real time search are ones to watch


  1. Tote says:

    Even though a valid threat to Google’s business model indeed, I can’t see why these two technology couldn’t complement each other. ‘Real-time’ information soon becomes ‘history’, thus indexed by Google. Why do you believe in the importance of real-time search so much that you already started to bury ‘history search’?