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Google Realtime Search Gets Home Page, Conversation View, Alerts & Geosearch

Google Realtime Search has finally gained its own home page, as well as some new tools including “conversations view,” Google Alerts for real time content and the ability to see tweets filtered by geography.

New Home Page

Back in June, my Can Google Real Time Search Have Its Own Home Page Now? covered how frustrating it has been that there’s no way to point people directly at Google Realtime Search (the product now goes from being “Google Real-Time Search” to “Google Realtime Search” — one word — with this launch). Now we get it, a sign of the service growing up. You’ll find it here:


Well, you’re supposed to find it there. Right now, it’s not loading. As what appears to be a temporary fix, Google’s changed its blog post to point at this URL:


Use that, and you can get into the service.

Realtime Alerts

Many people are familiar with Google Alerts, which allow you get an email whenever new content is found by Google matching your query. Existing alerts can be run to find matching news, blog, video and discussion content — as well as an “everything” option. Now “updates,” content from Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and other sources that Google Realtime Search monitors, can be added.

The screenshot above shows how on the Google Alerts page, you can use the drop down option to select “Updates” along with how often you want alerts (as it happens, once a day or once per week). You can also use the “Preview results” option to see what you’ll get.

Conversation View

When you do a search, there’s now a “Full conversation” link that appears to help you see a thread of discussion that may be happening between various people. Here’s an example with author Neil Gaiman, who replies to an amazingly large number of people. But what’s he replying to? Conversation view can help. Click on the link:

And you see the dialog:

Of course, you can also do this at Twitter. Whenever you see a “Show Conversation” link along a result, select that, and the entire thread nicely unfolds:

I like that better than how Google sends you to a different page to view.

Of course, the challenge with Twitter Search is that you’ll only be able to find conversations going back about five days, while Google’s service has tweets going back through February. See these articles for more about that:

Geographical Filtering

Want to know who is tweeting about something near you or near a particular area? That’s another feature launched today. For example, I did a search for “lunch” and selected the “Nearby” option to get this:

This brings back tweets from those in Costa Mesa, the city next to me — but still pretty close.

Google makes an assumption about where you’re located based on your IP address, and that’s not always perfect for a variety of reasons. Plus, there are times when you may want to see what’s being tweeted by people in other areas. In either case, you can use the “Custom Location” option to put in a city or area you prefer.

Below, I did a search for “heat” with the location of San Francisco:

So any arrows! The one pointing left shows where I entered the custom location. The one pointing to the lower right shows how the tweets all come from San Francisco. The arrow going up shows how there’s a reverse bar above the results to indicate you’ve filtered them to San Francisco. And over at the end of the bar, the last arrow points to a checkbox. Click that, and the filter is easily removed.

You can go beyond a city. Below, matching searched for heat by using “california” as the geographic filter:

I also tested “united states” and got good results from across the country — similarly when I tried a search for “uk.”

Of course, Google lacks the visual geographic tool that Bing Maps offers, where you can see tweets on a map. For example, here are people tweeting about lunch near me:

Or here, people tweeting about heat across California:

The Bing Twitter app can be found from the Bing Maps Explore area. Use the “Map Apps” button at the bottom of the page, the pick the Twitter application.

Real Time Or Realtime?

Earlier, I’d mentioned there was a name change here. I emailed Google about this, and I was told that this is actually the first time the product has been given a formal name:

When we announced Google real-time search functionality last December we did not have an official feature name. With our new Google Realtime Search landing page, we’ve for the first time named the feature. We chose not to use a hyphen because we thought it looked cleaner and read more smoothly.

Movie Time

Want to know more? Google’s got a blog post up about the changes, which includes the video below about the new features:

For more about Google Realtime Search, see our past articles here. Also see these particular articles:

Postscript: I’ve now got some information to add from Dylan Casey, the Google product manager who oversees the Google Realtime product.

How about search commands, such as the ability to use from: to see all the tweets from a particular person, as place like Topsy and Twitter offer. Or even an advanced search page? Will that come? No immediate plans for this, Casey said.

What about expanding the size of the archive? Google Realtime Search only goes back to Feburary 2010. Casey said Google’s working with Twitter to go back farther and that this will happen. So stay tuned.

For related coverage elsewhere, see Techmeme.

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