If you’ve gotten used to receiving real-time updates from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Quora in your Google search results, you’re going to have to get used to things being the way they were before Google Realtime, at least for now.
The service, which began running in December 2009 has been shut down, following the expiry of Google’s deal with Twitter. Search blog, Search Engine Land, was among the first to discover that the service had been shut down.
None of this, however, explains why Google did not simply renew their arrangement with Twitter. It is interesting to note that the decision comes just days after the launch of Google’s own Google+ social network.
Google is yet to issue a full press release on the shutting down of Realtime but its quiet closing comes in the midst of major rethinks among many of Google products and services. Even the Google main page got a slight tweak.
According to the statement: “The new Google experience that we’ve begun working toward is founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness.”
On the same day it announced its redesign, Google also stated that it would be launching a means of flagging search results based on the creator of the content. The search giant stated that the pilot phase of the project would comprise of “a small sample of authors who have linked their Google profile with their content”. Thereafter it links the steps which need to be taken by content creator who wishes to be part of the project.
In the introduction to these steps it is made clear that the project “is being rolled out gradually and will be implemented algorithmically, so author information will not always display in search results”.
The process of applying to be an author makes extensive use of various Google features. Firstly, it requires that the author have a Google profile. From there, the author must link their Google profile to their other author pages around the web. Intriguingly, one of the example sites mentioned in this second step is Twitter.
To say anything further about the decision to use this kind of language in the midst of major redesigns and the shutting down of Realtime would be purely speculative at this stage.
The Search Engine land report says that Google have promised the return of Realtime, but with “no set time frame” and content from a variety of sources. Quite how information from sources will be among the most interesting of the many questions users will have of Google in coming months.