“Instant Gratification Isn’t Fast Enough”

January 20, 2010

by Mikey Cramer

This week Google introduced new search features that will change the landscape of real-time, mobile and social search forever.  This is definitely the next step in the evolution of information access.

Now, when conducting a search on Google, you will see live updates, news headlines and blog posts seconds after they’ve been published on the web.  Google will rank the relevant results to show the most current returns on the search page.  As Google strives to achieve comprehensive relevance with their search results, they are enabling users to discover information as it is happening.

The search can be refined by selecting “latest results” on the options menu, providing a full page of live web content.  Searches can be paired down even further by filtering results to view platform specific content, like micro-blogs only.  Further, Google has added a “hot topics” feature to Google Trends that shows the topics with the highest amount of online conversation.  All of these enhanced search features are available on mobile devices as well.

Mobile search, specifically, has a few exciting additions that include the ability to search beyond just text.  Users can now enter their queries via voice, location and sight.  This brings me to Google Goggles, a visual search application that lets you search for objects using images from your camera phone.  This is perhaps their most ambitious release, as image recognition technology still has significant strides to make before it is perfected.  But very exciting, nonetheless!  For more on these mobile enhancements, visit the Google Mobile Blog.

Google says that they are relying on “more than a dozen new search technologies” to provide these real-time results.  For more on the algorithm, read here.  In addition to these technologies, Google has announced an impressive lineup of new partners: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Identi.ca, and Twitter.  Though, even with all of these new partners, Google still has their work cut out for them if they plan to provide truly comprehensive real-time results.  This graph shows that there is still quite a bit of unaccounted real-time content to index (over 50%):

But what does this mean for marketers?  That depends.  Reputation management becomes a heightened issue as real-time content moves to the top of a results page, pushing corporate pages (home page, PR, newsletters etc.) to the bottom.  A company’s social persona now takes precedence, falling in line with what we’ve been saying since the dawn of social media: “your brand is not what you say it is, but what others say it is.”  This visibility empowers consumers, making brand conversation readily available by aggregating it across channels.  The outcome for brands could be good or bad depending on what is being said and the overall sentiment.  It is now up to marketers to find the most effective ways to mitigate negative conversation, in real-time!

Image Source: Manfrys, Spark Media Solutions

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