This article is on Silicon Alley Insider right now and discusses the potential that Twitter has for disrupting Google traditional search model. Part of what the article argues is that search is becoming something that people are more and more wanting in real time. In the article, John Borthwick (CEO of betaworks), writes that:
Fast forward to today and take a simple example of how Twitter Search changes everything. Imagine you are in line waiting for coffee and you hear people chattering about a plane landing on the Hudson. You go back to your desk and search Google for plane on the Hudson — today — weeks after the event, Google is replete with results — but the DAY of the incident there was nothing on the topic to be found on Google. Yet at http://search.twitter.com the conversations are right there in front of you. The same holds for any topical issues — lipstick on pig? — for real time questions, real time branding analysis, tracking a new product launch — on pretty much any subject if you want to know whats happening now, search.twitter.com will come up with a superior result set.
How is real time search different? History isnt that relevant — relevancy is driven mostly by time. One of the Twitter search engineers said to me a few months ago that his CS professor wouldn’t technically regard Twitter Search as search. The primary axis for relevancy is time — this is very different to traditional search. Next, similar to video search — real time search melds search, navigation and browsing.
Way back in early Twitter land there was a feature called Track. It let you monitor or track — the use of a word on Twitter. As Twitter scaled up Track didn’t and the feature was shut off. Then came Summize with the capability to refresh results — to essentially watch the evolution of a search query. Today I use a product called Tweetdeck (note disclosure below) — it offers a simple UX where you can monitor multiple searches — real time — in unison.
This reformulation of search as navigation is, I think, a step into a very new and different future. Google.com has suddenly become the source for pages — not conversations, not the real time web.
The examples given are good examples of how Google could lose its dominance in search. It seems as though it would be extremely difficult for a business that has built its model around providing search results based upon the link’s authority as Google has to suddenly transition or adapt to a search model that prioritizes time. The reality is that sometimes those links on Twitter are not the best, or from traditionally “trusted” sources, but they are the fastest. Just how good and authoritative they are will be reflected a few days later in Google’s search results, but by that point Google is playing second to Twitter’s first.