Live from TWTRCON: How Real Time is Changing Search

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Jun 14, 2010
More Articles by Janet


One of the sessions I was most looking forward to today was this one where Dylan Casey from Google addressed how real time social media is affecting search engines.

Dylan explained that Google has paid a lot of attention to the type of content being published, not just the platforms. It’s much more than the URLs — where did this piece of content come from? How was it published? What is dove-tailed along with it?

What about SEO? Brand owners are clearly concerned about it. Dylan, of course, said to continue to focus on creating good content. The way that Google delivers social content isn’t that different than how it delivers other content. There are some nuances:

  • Look at how the content is being used and interacted with. What happens to the content after it is published?

Should you publish a lot of times per day to stay in real-time search? Dylan says he hopes we’re beyond that and it’s not the best idea to do that.

What about AdWords? Does what’s happening with organic reflect anything for AdWords? Dylan says there is no connection between the organic and paid sides — they are completely disconnected. Sometimes, though, the ad may be the right answer depending on the content you have. Dylan said they are still trying to figure out how social media will come together fully with Google content.

How does Facebook’s new openness affect Google? Dylan said openness is important for the web. However, as content that was previously private becomes available, it’s important to consider how to address it. What happens, for instance, if you mark your Twitter updates private later? Should the previous tweets be removed from results?

There is some degree of overlap between real time social media and areas such as news in Google. Dylan said that Google will always try to deliver the freshest content, regardless of publisher. Google has to take into account the nuances of that particular platform of the publisher.

Is real-time search getting more prominence in the results? Dylan said that you’ll often see real-time results within universal search results. The search query helps determine the intent — for instance, if you search for the “Sandra Bullock kiss”, that is a different intent per se than a search for just “Sandra Bullock”.

What about Google Buzz and Google Wave? Dylan said that he believes Google Buzz is very important. It allows people to have conversations around content (as some other platforms also do).  He compared it to the way content is shared via email. So what about Google Wave? Wave is in a phase that is still trying to figure out how users will apply the tool.

What’s coming in real time search? Dylan said that some of the challenges were determining the triggers for real-time search results in universal search results. Dylan said that will improve. He also focused on Caffeine’s recent release and how it should serve up more recent content and information. It looks for signals around the content that makes the content most useful. He hopes that one of the benefits of real time search will be that people feel they can go to Google to understand real time events and will alter the way people publish content.

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