Since 2009, Google has provided a specialized search for real-time data – updates from social sites, and most prominently Twitter, that were available within seconds of going live on the web. Twitter’s deal with Google is up, however, and the companies have not yet arranged for a continuation of the partnership that allowed for the Realtime search to function as it does. As the deal expired, so did Google Realtime search – at least for now.
The State of Realtime Search
Google Realtime launched in December of 2009, but once we hit July 2nd – the date of expiration for the “special feed” that Google received from Twitter – the entire service went down. For four days, the Realtime search page came back as a 404. Now, however, users will simply be redirected to the standard search page.
According to a Google statement given in response to a query from Search Engine Land, Google has every intention of re-launching the service. Even without the special feed, “information on Twitter that’s publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google,” so Tweets may still enter the equation. More importantly, Google’s “vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources.”
The Google-Twitter Partnership
Google and Twitter have worked together on several fronts, and though Realtime was the first major project, a more important mechanism – social search results – has since come to rely on the two companies playing nice. As Google continues to push its own social sharing button (the +1) and launches its own social network, however, it’s plausible that Twitter is no longer interested in providing additional data.
Neither company has clarified the reasons why the Realtime partnership hasn’t continued, but a Google representative did state that they were “open to exploring other [Twitter-Google] collaborations in the future.”