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The real-time, social web (ruins The Apprentice)

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 14th May 2009

I love my PVR. It lets me record anything and watch it whenever I want. Except on a Wednesday evening when Twitter ruins everything. There I am, working hard late into the evening and, without thinking, I check in with Twitter to see what’s happening (read: procrastinate). And there it is, too late: “xx has been fired”

Twitter ruins The Apprentice for me. Every week.

But, even though the good ‘ol PVR may buck the trend, this is quickly becoming the way of the world. We are living in a real-time, uber-connected society where if something happened yesterday, it’s ancient history. The real-time, social web is here.

And two developments in the world of search over the last week have merely increased this mindset.

On Tuesday, Google announced a new feature called Search Options:

“a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier.”

The new tool, which appears at the top left of every search, allows you to refine search results by criteria including format (e.g. videos. forums, reviews) and time of creation (e.g. past 24 hours, past week, past year).

This would allow a user to search for particular forum posts written in the last 24 hours for example – very useful and a great example of the real-time, social web.

The second development is, at this stage, more of a rumour, but is equally fascinating. According to Cnet, Twitter will soon begin indexing the pages that users refer to in their tweets and including these in search results performed on the site at As Cnet notes:

“This will make Twitter Search a much more complete index of what’s happening in real time on the Web and make it an even more credible competitor to Google Search for people looking for very timely content.”

The two announcements clearly reflect the success of each company. Google wants a piece of Twitter (as buying it clearly isn’t going to happen yet) and Twitter is eyeing some of Google’s search pie for its monetisation plans.

They are both exiting developments, and there are some key considerations as a result for businesses and brands:

  1. Updated content is vital, static websites are history – blogs, news, forums, social media activity will all give you more chance of being included in ‘recent searches’
  2. Multimedia is more important than ever – Google’s inclusion of video as a search option, combined with the time search option is particularly telling
  3. The echo-chamber is growing – with the real-time, social web, problems can become disasters in minutes, so be prepared and ready for the unexpected

As for me, I just need to modify my viewing habits!

picture credit

Danny Whatmough