Is Real Time Search worth the hype?
By now we all know that FaceBook has acquired FriendFeed, Facebook lite could possibly rival Twitter and according to many people the future of search is “real time”. But is it really? I’m not convinced.
What Real time search does well
IMHO real time search is at best a reputation search engine. A user Twitter searches a brand and reads the groundswell of positive or negative brand mentions out there. Great. Better than Google? Certainly. Google probably places far too much emphasis on a few consumer forums and outdated content. A disgruntled customer also has to put far too much effort to be heard through traditional search.
A high profile Tweet, though, could be read by millions really quickly, and while the coverage will certainly die out quicker I suspect the negative impact is probably greater. As a result brands need to engage now more than ever.
In my view real time search will probably form an integral part of validating purchasing process AFTER a supplier/ product is already chosen.
So all the hype is validated then?
Not for me, not even close. This is where the value of real time search starts unravelling.
Michael Arrington uses the commercial aspect of search to promote the revenue earning potential of Twitter. Personally, I feel that this is completely irrelevant and he has completely missed the point. Real time search does not have the same quality of result as traditional search and, therefore, does not have the same advertising potential. Intent is also an issue.
I believe the reason that the search listings become such great places to advertise is the intent of the searcher. That intent is based upon need to find a product or service. Advertisers will spend budget on targeting that audience, as they are likely to deliver great ROI. Will people ever turn to Twitter to FIND a supplier rather than validate a choice? I don’t think so.
Why all the hype?
The cynic in me says the hype around real time search is a tactic motivated to improve stock price and position the social media platforms as “the next Google” just because they do “Search”. To me, its all part of the social media tech bubble but that’s a post for another day.
I may be way off the mark but I really don’t think the hype is justified. The potential revenue just doesn’t stack up but feel free to comment, call me an idiot, and show me where I missed the boat.