Collecta has recently come to our attention as a player in the real-time search arena. The site isn't currently available for users to run searches of their own; however, hot-topic samples (searches for "Obama" and "swine flu") are being displayed on one-off pages.
On the sample pages, the engine collects tweets, Flickr photos, blog posts, and comments containing the given term and updates the page with text, images, and links in real time. The site is slated to go live and announce an API this month.
We spent some time playing with the sample pages, and sure enough, the posted search results were all less than a minute old. Here are a couple screen shots of the searches in action:
We tweeted the term "swine flu" and counted the seconds - all 19 of them - for this to appear:
Currently, the results we can see are simply any and all content containing the search term. There isn't a link-indexing system in place or any PageRank-like concept, just a steady stream of data that may be in some way related to the search term. Whether or not Collecta really is, as the website states, "the web's most powerful real time search engine" remains to be seen. We'll be staying tuned for the full launch later this month.
Collecta's team includes CEO Gerry Campbell, formerly president of search and content technologies for Reuters, SVP of search for AOL, and AltaVista strategist. Their creative director has held similar positions at Blogger and Technorati, and the CTO is Open Source geek Jack Moffitt.