Is Google interested in searching the Real Time Web? Are they at all threatened by Twitter? Are Google spiders already so fast that this emergence of Real Time is old news to them? Further fodder for pondering these types of questions was offered by Google co-founder, Larry Page, today at the Google Zeitgeist conference in Hertfordshire, UK.
Page says that Twitter has demonstrated that real time search is essential. Loic Le Meur, founder of microblogging service Seesmic and European tech conference Le Web (where this year's topic is the real time web), asked Page today what he thought about Twitter. Page's response was interesting.
"I have always thought we needed to index the web every second to allow real time search," Le Meur quotes Page as saying. "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 realtime."
Page's statement comes less than two weeks after Google execs told reporters that the company is looking at ways of integrating microblogging capabilities, such as those popularized by Twitter, into its search product.
It's clear that Twitter in particular, and the real time web of status updates in general (most popular on Facebook), is changing the direction Google is going. Google execs probably prefer to talk about Twitter instead of Facebook because they are on friendlier terms with the smaller company and Facebook is closed to outside search. Neither company has a clear corner on the real time market, though.
For a look at one type of real time search functionality Google might aim for, check out the newly relaunched OneRiot. (Our review.) Or FriendFeed search. Much more is possible than simple "most recent" search ala search.twitter.com. Relevance has to be figured out on top of timeliness.
For an in-depth look at the real time web, see our recent overview titled Introduction to the Real Time Web and yesterday's post on Search Engine Land, where real time and circles of influence (social search, essentially) were identified as Google's two primary weaknesses and likely directions for the future.