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Google adds Facebook to real-time search

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday February 26, 2010 )

Google recently announced it is now incorporating Facebook Pages status updates in its real-time search feature.

The announcement wasn’t exactly detailed – it consisted of a brief message on Twitter (go figure), so not much is known about the ins and outs of the arrangement at this stage.

Google’s real-time search feature is something I have never really taken much notice of. It consists of a scrolling box updating in real time that appears in the first search engine results page (SERP), usually in relation to breaking news or very popular topics.

For example, if you were to run the following search query at the moment: Winter Olympics – you will likely see the real time results section embedded somewhere on the first page of results.

Real-time search draws from all sorts of sources – newspapers, blogs, Twitter and even MySpace. From what I can gather, the Facebook inclusion will be limited to Facebook Pages – profiles set up by businesses and organizations, or individuals such as politicians. These pages are a little different to general Facebook user profile pages.

I shuddered last year when I heard about the inclusion of Twitter tweets in Google’s real-time search given that a lot of what goes up on Twitter isn’t really of any value – there’s a lot of noise and very little signal.

Using the Winter Olympics example above, I saw these tweets included in G’s real-time search this evening:

“I’ll be glad when the Winter Olympics is over.”


“Winter olympics nearly over what a shame, most enjoyed”

Hardly thought provoking or useful.

Call me old-fashioned, but that appearing on the first page of Google’s search results doesn’t make the grade in my opinion.

However, real-time search is here, perhaps we’ll be stuck with it (and hopefully it will improve in terms of quality), so we might as well try to make the most of it as another way to drive traffic.

While it’s not a powerful enough motivator on its own, Google’s real-time search is just another reason that small online businesses should perhaps consider establishing a presence on Twitter and Facebook.

If you’re yet to do so, these articles might help:

Twitter as a marketing tool
Facebook fan pages as a marketing tool


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