Is the real-time web a threat to Google search?

Is the Real-Time Web a threat to Google? Rackspace executive Lew Moorman sure thinks so.

He’s right. Fewer and fewer of my search behaviors have been on Google lately.

And last week friendfeed did something very important: made it a lot more possible to do powerful real-time web searches.

First, the problem with friendfeed is it is too geeky. But ignore that problem for a moment, because if they don’t get it right, or make it something that the mainstream wants, well, you’ll see the same kind of search show up on Facebook (which has been making moves lately to be much more open) or Twitter.

So, why is this stuff working?

Well, because it’s with your friends and THEIR behaviors. Your friends are a lot more trustworthy than anyone else. How do I know that? Because while I was in Davos George Colony, CEO of Forrester handed me the results of a report they did on Trust and they found that people you know are the most trusted. Far more than corporate or personal blogs. Yes, I know you don’t trust me that much. That’s OK. I don’t trust your blog much either. :-)

But, if I know you (thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and friendfeed I have gotten to know thousands of you) I can build a much better recommendation engine.

Oh, and even more troubling for Google is that Facebook and friendfeed have a lot more metadata to study.

What is metadata? It is data about data. Well, in Google’s case, the metadata is the linking behavior of people in the web.

But look just on friendfeed. What’s the metadata there? Everytime I click “like,” something I’ve done more than 16,000 times now, I’m adding metadata. Everytime I add a comment, something I’ve done more than 8,000 times now, I’m adding metadata.

What other metadata is there? Well, they still can study linking behavior. I can link to my discussion of how cloud computing will change programmer behavior, for instance.

What else? Well, friendfeed knows how many of my friends also liked that item. They also know how many people clicked on that item (although they haven’t surfaced that information yet).

So, now, let’s look at search.

First, if I need to know who the best retailer is to buy, say, a Canon 5D Mark II, is it better to ask the people I know, like I did here on friendfeed, or go to Google and deal with the SEOs? Try doing that search over on Google. I did. Do you find a single retailer? I didn’t.

So, now, let’s get to friendfeed’s search.

Let’s do a search for anyone who has written about the Canon 5D MK II but lets constrain that to posts that have at least one like and at least four comments. Here’s the search. Note that the post I wrote just one minute ago is already in the results page. This is the real-time web.

Google won’t see that friendfeed item for hours and, even if Google’s spiders index it Google does not have enough metadata to study to let it do this kind of search.

Let’s keep going.

How is this for searching news? Well, right now Australia is burning. So, let’s search for “Australia fires” but lets constrain that search to anything that has five or more likes and five or more comments. Note the quality of the conversation that comes back.

How am I doing this? With friendfeed’s advanced search.

But it gets better than that.

How about we search for all Tweets that talk about the Australian Fires? We can do that.

“But can’t search.twitter.com do that better?” Well, yes, but can it also just show you all the Google Reader items people have shared? Like friendfeed can? No.

Can Google search show you all the Upcoming.org events that mention SXSW? No, but friendfeed search can.

Can you easily see all the YouTube videos that have the word Grammy in them? Probably over on YouTube you could do that. But can you now constrain the videos to the ones that have gotten some comments? With friendfeed you can.

But try doing THIS with Google: try finding everytime Dave Winer has commented on an item about netbooks. On friendfeed that’s easy. On Google? They don’t have the metadata to study.

Now, keep in mind that there aren’t many people on friendfeed yet. The numbers of comments there are not even close to enough to make all searches satisfying. But, look at friendfeed’s competitor Facebook. They have more than 150 million users already. What if Facebook were to get a search like friendfeeds?

Now do you start to see why I’m using Google less and less?

Lew Moorman is right.

Oh, and I got lots of answers to my Camera question before I was even done with writing this post.

UPDATE: you can search for “threats to Google” on friendfeed with this search. Fun to watch the comments come in!

97 thoughts on “Is the real-time web a threat to Google search?

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  2. You said “Only one of these searches were with MY friends.” If they are not your friends why do you trust them more than “corporate or personal blogs”. Probably because they have nothing to gain..but eventually the whole thing will be over run with corporate and personal business bloggers in disquise. If you build it they will come.

  3. You said “Only one of these searches were with MY friends.” If they are not your friends why do you trust them more than “corporate or personal blogs”. Probably because they have nothing to gain..but eventually the whole thing will be over run with corporate and personal business bloggers in disquise. If you build it they will come.

  4. I tend to agree with K – Google seems mostly likely for now to lose pieces of the search market to vertical search, like Wikipedia, LinkedIn, IMDb – so that Google stops being the default starting point in some cases. And this could be where Twitter / Friendfeed / Facebook come in.

  5. I tend to agree with K – Google seems mostly likely for now to lose pieces of the search market to vertical search, like Wikipedia, LinkedIn, IMDb – so that Google stops being the default starting point in some cases. And this could be where Twitter / Friendfeed / Facebook come in.

  6. So will Google remain the mainstream engine of choice, and Friendfeed (or a successor) take away the geek market? I know as a geek myself, I’ve been looking for something more instant. Google could start by folding blog search into its regular results.

  7. So will Google remain the mainstream engine of choice, and Friendfeed (or a successor) take away the geek market? I know as a geek myself, I’ve been looking for something more instant. Google could start by folding blog search into its regular results.

  8. I find this really rings true. I am never impressed with recommended books that amazon puts forth, nor do I ever really consider it unless I have heard about it from other trusted sources. I find what drives my buying decision most is listening and hearing what is being said by those I trust and respect on the Net. Searching on resources such as that would be much more impactful to me!

  9. I find this really rings true. I am never impressed with recommended books that amazon puts forth, nor do I ever really consider it unless I have heard about it from other trusted sources. I find what drives my buying decision most is listening and hearing what is being said by those I trust and respect on the Net. Searching on resources such as that would be much more impactful to me!

  10. This is a great feature for aggregating the Social Media segment, and the extent in which social media pulls other content from other places. It’s absolutely needed, but it doesn’t give you a 360 view, if you’re really in need to dive into a particular complex topic (looking for a camera is “fairly” simple). It’s a good starting point.
    We still need an ultimate aggregator that can scoop it all.

  11. This is a great feature for aggregating the Social Media segment, and the extent in which social media pulls other content from other places. It’s absolutely needed, but it doesn’t give you a 360 view, if you’re really in need to dive into a particular complex topic (looking for a camera is “fairly” simple). It’s a good starting point.
    We still need an ultimate aggregator that can scoop it all.

  12. Scoble it snot just the metaqdata but Ui change as well..

    what is the most useful Ui change given the first affinity group search occured about 23 months ago at SWSX?

    Think about what piece of metadata ranks it ideally for search user in each affinity group..

    GPS! Thnink of how importnat this becomes on Mobile :)

    Someone is doing it :)

  13. Scoble it snot just the metaqdata but Ui change as well..

    what is the most useful Ui change given the first affinity group search occured about 23 months ago at SWSX?

    Think about what piece of metadata ranks it ideally for search user in each affinity group..

    GPS! Thnink of how importnat this becomes on Mobile :)

    Someone is doing it :)

  14. btw. who is the best retailer to buy a Canon 5D Mark II?

    Sometimes you have to think with your own head. Not to rely too much on the collective intelligence\ stupidity.

  15. btw. who is the best retailer to buy a Canon 5D Mark II?

    Sometimes you have to think with your own head. Not to rely too much on the collective intelligence stupidity.

  16. I have been thinking. It is always the relative experience that matters.

    == Microsoft vs. Google ==

    Hotmail from Microsoft -7
    Gmail from Google +2

    The Microsoft has to generate +9 imppact in order to match Google for me. The G has surfed on the positive feedback (hot territory) while M has generated lot of negative feedback (cold territory)

    The search provide X has to offer +10 impact relative to the G search. Isn’t it so?

  17. I have been thinking. It is always the relative experience that matters.

    == Microsoft vs. Google ==

    Hotmail from Microsoft -7
    Gmail from Google +2

    The Microsoft has to generate +9 imppact in order to match Google for me. The G has surfed on the positive feedback (hot territory) while M has generated lot of negative feedback (cold territory)

    The search provide X has to offer +10 impact relative to the G search. Isn’t it so?

  18. Not to step on anyone’s toes, but I can’t wait til the day google chokes…No offense..but their poor customer service along with there hypocrisy makes me sick. I still use Google but just out of spite.

    Friendfeed has come along way and they are getting bigger everyday (literally) and still have awesome customer service.

  19. Not to step on anyone’s toes, but I can’t wait til the day google chokes…No offense..but their poor customer service along with there hypocrisy makes me sick. I still use Google but just out of spite.

    Friendfeed has come along way and they are getting bigger everyday (literally) and still have awesome customer service.

  20. hmm, i really didn’t think much of this till i had an idea about advertising in light of the real time web. and google isn’t about search – its about advertising. so they could potentially be impacted big time.

    enter real time advertising.

    i was watching tweetdeck and noticed a story trending – a funny video on the onion – just think if I were an advertiser and was monitoring this and at that instant injected ads into that site – ads I had to pay more for now that the site was getting traffic – in fact it could open a bidding war as other advertisers interested in marketing to those eyeballs caught wind of it.

    i mean if twitter needs a revenue model there it is…

  21. hmm, i really didn’t think much of this till i had an idea about advertising in light of the real time web. and google isn’t about search – its about advertising. so they could potentially be impacted big time.

    enter real time advertising.

    i was watching tweetdeck and noticed a story trending – a funny video on the onion – just think if I were an advertiser and was monitoring this and at that instant injected ads into that site – ads I had to pay more for now that the site was getting traffic – in fact it could open a bidding war as other advertisers interested in marketing to those eyeballs caught wind of it.

    i mean if twitter needs a revenue model there it is…

  22. Google tried to beat Wikipedia with Knol because it got too popular. Knol failed.
    But ss there anyone here who never used wikipedia search instead of google?
    It depends on what you’re looking for, right?

    Google decided to get rid of Google Video because YouTube became everyone’s video search engine.

    I continue to use Google Video to find videos that last longer than 5 minutes.
    I use YouTube to find songs or segments of TV programs.

    I use Twitter search to find feedback on products and I use it to get status updates on world events.

    I use Flickr search to find photos.

    In the future I’m likely to use Mahalo search when I need answers.

    I use LinkedIn to find business info on people.

    I would like to know what search engines others are using and what they are using it for?

    But let’s get real here.
    Most people don’t know about Twitter or LinkedIn or Mahalo but they do know Google.
    Twitter won’t kill Google but there’re vertical markets in the search market and it looks like a lot of us found Twitter’s vertical search market.
    It would be foolish for Twitter not to act on it.

  23. Google tried to beat Wikipedia with Knol because it got too popular. Knol failed.
    But ss there anyone here who never used wikipedia search instead of google?
    It depends on what you’re looking for, right?

    Google decided to get rid of Google Video because YouTube became everyone’s video search engine.

    I continue to use Google Video to find videos that last longer than 5 minutes.
    I use YouTube to find songs or segments of TV programs.

    I use Twitter search to find feedback on products and I use it to get status updates on world events.

    I use Flickr search to find photos.

    In the future I’m likely to use Mahalo search when I need answers.

    I use LinkedIn to find business info on people.

    I would like to know what search engines others are using and what they are using it for?

    But let’s get real here.
    Most people don’t know about Twitter or LinkedIn or Mahalo but they do know Google.
    Twitter won’t kill Google but there’re vertical markets in the search market and it looks like a lot of us found Twitter’s vertical search market.
    It would be foolish for Twitter not to act on it.

  24. “Can Google search show you all the Upcoming.org events that mention SXSW? No, but friendfeed search can.”

    class scooby ADD. didn’t even look at the FF results. they are useless.

    try sxsw site:upcoming.yahoo.com in google search and restrict it to past month (use advanced search feature). actually useful.

    he also didn’t use shopping search for canon or google blog search for dave winer. pretty lame.

  25. “Can Google search show you all the Upcoming.org events that mention SXSW? No, but friendfeed search can.”

    class scooby ADD. didn’t even look at the FF results. they are useless.

    try sxsw site:upcoming.yahoo.com in google search and restrict it to past month (use advanced search feature). actually useful.

    he also didn’t use shopping search for canon or google blog search for dave winer. pretty lame.

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