Search Engine Land noticed that Google's Realtime Search had gone missing. The website returns a 404 error, the option no longer appears in the left-hand sidebar and search results for news no longer include real-time links.Over the weekend, the keen eyes at
A Google spokesperson confirmed the closure, but called it a temporary one. According to Google, Realtime Search has been shuttered as a 2009 agreement between Twitter and Google had expired, making what was one of the key element of that real-time content - Tweets - no longer available.
Tweets weren't the only part of Google Realtime Search, to be sure. Other content included Google Buzz, Google News, MySpace posts and FriendFeed updates. Although that list of services is just a partial one, it makes the centrality of Twitter to this search pretty clear. With the launch last week of Google+, the inability for Twitter and Google to renew their Realtime Search agreement suggests an interesting road ahead for social and real-time search. Tweets do still show up in Bing social searches, it's worth noting.
Google Plus and Realtime Search
Google may move to incorporate the new Google Plus posts into a revised real-time search, but that hardly addresses the problem of searching for Tweets. As Danny Sullivan points out, Twitter has "largely outsourced the service of Twitter search longer than a few days to Google." Although Google will still have access to Twitter data by crawling the Web, it won't be the same, and the recurring complaints about the difficulties surrounding Twitter search and archives are likely to resurface.
Social Signals in Search
It's easy to read the falling out between Twitter and Google as being connected to the newly launched Google Plus, but it's far too early to make any sweeping pronouncements about Google no longer needing Twitter to beef up its social search now that it has what appears to be a successful social component on its hands. Google has managed just fine without having Facebook integration, of course. But the value of Twitter in real-time searches seems to go beyond just "the social." Add to that, Google+ still a nascent network, one that may be, at least according to journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, somewhat less useful of a tool for breaking news coverage and by extension, less useful for real-time search.