Last month Google announced the launch of their Real Time Search engine. By including real time search results Google has now officially embraced the updatesphere as a subsphere of “The Web,” as may be seen in the following figures.
In my real time web results Google is indexing updates performed within the three popular micro-blogging platforms: Twitter, FriendFeed and Identi.ca. Notably absent are the status updates from the social networking site Facebook because of its partial walled garden structure. However, it may not be long before these updates will be included as well because Google recently made a deal with Facebook ((Google its official partners are: “Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku and Identi.ca â€” along with Twitter, which we announced a few weeks ago.” Google, Relevance meets the real-time web)). However, it is interesting to note that Google will only receive Facebook updates from public updates on pages (such as fan pages) while competing search engine Bing will receive updates from public profile pages (personal profiles) that are marked as visible for everyone.
Already in 2008 Google started expanding its indexing focus to actions within social networks but the indexed actions were quite messy, for example:
- silvertje has started 0 topics. silvertje has made 1 reply. … silvertje replied on May 13, 2009 06:25 to the question “We want all …â€
- Anteek added a contact: Anne Helmond. MyBlogLog Action submitted by Anteek –
- Uploads from Anne Helmond, tagged… – http://www.flickr.com/photos/silvertje/tags/amsterdam/
- Qik | Anne Helmond | Untitled. Streamed by Anne Helmond. More at http://qik.com/silvertje.
These actions performed on social objects ((social because they the objects are part of social web services that allow other people to participate in the objects by tagging, rating, leaving a comment, embedding or favoring for example)) such as Flickr photos, blog posts and videos, seemed to be Google’s first steps into real-time search. By partnering up with Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Identi.ca and Twitter, Google has now officially welcomed the updatesphere.
Twitters’ status updates have been included in Google’s index for a while but they are now actively promoted on the main site:
Please note that this screenshot shows the Social Search experiment, part of Google Labs > Experimental Search. It seems that -while writing- Google removed the real-time social results from the main site and moved it to its Labs.
Status updates are moving from the Web sphere to its own distinct sphere: the updatesphere. Google is acting as a demarcating engine in the construction of the updatesphere. ((For more on web spheres: R. Rogers, The End of the Virtual: Digital Methods, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009. (38p) [pre-print pdf]))