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Real-time search

Like the new theme?  I changed it a while ago, but I kinda forgot to even mention it.  But on to the subject of this post – Real-time search.

The concept  behind real-time search is simple enough.  You have an search engine which you can query for whatever topic you wish and said search engine will give you all past and present results. on the go, even while they are being created.  Got that?

In order to do so, the search engine will either have to be extremely fast at indexing everything 100% of the time, or else there will have to be some physical limitation on the objects that are being searched.

Now all the hullaballoo currently making the usual circles about twitter is around the real-time search feature that one can enjoy on Twitter and how it is going to be the ultimate Google-killer.  Oh, and about how Google is supposedly shitting itself because it cannot compete with Twitter at this game.

Which is a load of bull, if you ask me.  Because the scope of Google search is is far beyond anything that Twitter can possible muster that it doesn’t even seem right to compare the two.  But allow me to expound.

As a search engine, Google is second to none.  It has the largest search index of the world.  It has literally thousands of servers crawling the web and indexing everything.  Based on the importance of its search rank, a new post on a blog – probably not this one 🙂 – will get indexed and will become searchable within 10-15 minutes.  That’s fast!  Especially when you consider that content on the web runs into the millions of pages and grows with every second!  Making such a search facility work in real-time is not impossible but, I would imagine, hard to do.  The resources needed are unimaginable.  Then again, I guess if there’s anyone who has the resources to do it, it must be Google.

So what of Twitter?  Ok so it has real-time search.  Of?  People’s tweets, of course!  Twitter has a few million users, though no official figures exist that I know of – TechCrunch puts it at about 5-10 million.  And Twitter’s search engine is supposed to be able to sift through all the millions of tweets already archived and those being created in real-time right as I’m typing.  I’m saying supposed, here, because as already shown by Louis gray in this post, all is not always well in Twitter-search land.

So where does the comparison come from?  I’ve no idea.  Google has always really been about search and it does do search impeccably.  Twitter is the standard the ultimate micro-blogging site which every other service is desperate to be and may it very well be that at one point in time it will have perfected its real-time search to perfection.  But given its limited scope, I doubt very much that it will ever pose a threat for the giant of search engines!

I mean, come on!  Yahoo! and Microsoft have tried and to this date they have only managed to lose even more market share.   So can a company whose name used to be synonymous with the Fail-Whale succeed where those two have failed?  I very much doubt it..

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