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Now, having suspended disbelief for a couple of weeks, it appears that they are going to re-enter the fray, albeit through Google+ updates.
As predictable as it may be, this could well prove to be an important step in the integration and visibility of Plus as a service. Suddenly it has SERPs clout, replacing the popular Twitter feed and becoming far easier for the search giant to monitor and moderate.
Not all that long ago there was a lot of fuss being made about the potential of real-time search and how it could alter the way we all find information. Whilst it enjoyed moderate success, most users were left underwhelmed by its inclusion. I think it would be safe to say that it didn’t exactly set the world on fire.
But none-the-less it does serve a purpose, particularly where popular trends and marketing are concerned. If you want optimal visibility, you need to get your content (or name) seen in the right places. Therefore, what could be better than flashing up on a Google search page for a relevant term?
Google+ and +1’s are almost certainly going to become pivotal to the future of the search engine and algorithm. The fact that the company can effectively control the data and delve into it, free from external restrictions and other limitations, means that it can glean more information from users. Whether this will actually improve the results remains to be seen, but evidently Google are making every effort to internalise all products.
Whether Google+ is as effective as Twitter for real-time search purposes may also come under scrutiny. Chris Crum from WebProNews has already written an extensive piece suggesting that Google needs Twitter for its instant results. It’s certainly difficult to argue with, particularly given the comparative level of use on both platforms and the track record that the micro-blogging social network has when it comes to reporting and spreading breaking news.
However, if they continue to rely on these ‘competitor’ sites, surely Google are simply admitting that their own technology is inferior. The company will have invested tens of millions of pounds in creating Plus, so they better start exploring its full capacity – both as a networking platform and a carrier of real-time information. Who knows, maybe more marketers will now gravitate towards it in an effort to improve their own visibility? This would provide a double benefit for Google and would certainly swell the numbers and usage on Plus.
So watch this space for the re-emergence of real-time search.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.