James' Blog about Property

Discussion, advice and philosophical points about all things property whether UK or International markets

Is Google getting worried?

Posted by jamesdearsley on January 28, 2010

Is Google Worried?

I was last night at a presentation given by Nick Tadd (@nicktadd) who is always an entertaining speaker and well versed in the world of Social Media/Networking but it got me thinking last night about whether Google are starting to get worried about the future of “search”. At the end of the day, it is arguably their main earner and how they built their reputation. Could we be seeing the beginning of the end?

During the presentation we were discussing the new search fuction within Google of “Real Time Search”, in truth, Twitter feeds being searched by the same key words (Blogs can be included here as well but Twitter is the most apparent when it comes to RTS as it is the most obvious example or Real Time data) that the original Google algorithm would find.

I had read an article some months ago stating that Twitter could be the future of “search” because of the referencing of key words with a #. This meant that, if the general population could understand Twitter it could arguably replace Google as it would give them “User Generated Content” in real time. Googles search results can either be bought or can be manipulated to make a particular company top of the rankings. Twitter’s RTS will, arguably, if you take away SPAM, be more honest – and this is a key word, honesty.

Google may have already shown its concern by starting to allow RTS into its usual search algorithm and you could argue that this is the beginning of the end – they are trying to harness Twitter’s technology rather than compete against it. But this may backfire, people will now start to see Twitter as useful (how many times do we hear people saying they don’t understand Twitter?!) because it will bring them relevant content which is in real time. You cannot get much better than that.

Nick also showed the site http://www.twitterfall.com which I hadn’t seen before – could this be the new


Google? It is purely RTS and nothing else. If you don’t want the manipulated search information from Companies and you simply want real information, this is where you can get it.

This brings me on to my one concern and a problem that Twitter faces. This RTS whether on Google or on Twitterfall actually encourages SPAM. We are already seeing this happening with Real Estate Companies at the moment who are simply posting out listings when they come on (check out @propertypoland and you will see what I mean as this is the example we used last night). If RTS is the future, if anyone ever types in “Poland” as a key word, all you will ever see is @propertypoland typing in their new listings and nothing informative about Poland.

This is a problem for Twitter as it has been built on the strength of transparency and communication. If they are to take advantage of this situation they have to somehow control the spammers. They actually have a huge chance to beat Google at its own game.


15 Responses to “Is Google getting worried?”

  1. zaradzki said

    Google is definitly getting worried and it s not as ‘cool’ as it used to be, here is a clear sign of the major change occuring there;


  2. Wojtek said

    With interest I have read your glog. I became facinated to read use of propertyPoland twitter as case study (I do post this data and consider very usefull for the end user). Please compare search result for “apartment to rent in Warsaw” betweein google (including RTS) and twitter – and you see for yourself where you will find better results, assuming that you are looking for an apartment to rent in Warsaw.

    I’m pleased to report to you that average user from twitter spends 3 times more time on the site (property-in-poland.pl) that the user from google. So for me simply twitter is a better engine to market the properties than google. Surely you will understand this better than anyone else!

    • Hi Wojtek, That is really interesting, thank you for commenting on the blog post. Your analytics on this are fascinating.

      You highlight part of what I was trying to raise in that Twitter has to work out what it is actually going to be used for. It has been said that a lot of users hate so called “SPAM” as it is not about collaborative communication (essentially what Twitter started out as) and this is essentially what you are “pushing”.

      However, what you are doing is ultimately going to be successful for your company if RTS becomes a permanent feature on usual Google searches (currently on some browsers it is an option but it won’t be long).

      Really interesting Wojtek, thank you.


  3. John Corey said

    Two observations.

    1. Google has nothing much to worry about it if can blend in RTS. Rather than be a threat, RTS becomes an added feature with the other players unable to match the heavy lifting Google does with traditional search.

    2. The noise from some SM folks about honesty is naive. The idea that ads or SEO is somehow bias while RTS or tweets is pure is just naive.

    More importantly crowds will over react or otherwise follow trends even when a more rational view of the ‘facts’ says the crowd is wrong. Hence RTS will amplify the tendency of a group to response to limited or false information. In the stock market there is the idea of a circuit breaker where everyone stops and takes a breath so the information can be digested. Twitter trending topics has no such mechanism. Urban myths can circulate by email for a long time because they feel like fact. Bad information on Twitter will rise and fall quicker but it does take on the power of an urban myth when many RT the bogus info.

    RTS has a place. It is not the next greatest thing that will somehow rewrite the rules of the game and therefore threaten Google. Google will be Borg-like and assimilate RTS.

    John Corey

    • Hi John, good to hear from you.

      I can appreciate your two observations as I think you make a valid point. There will of course be a bias with RTS as well but because of the transient nature of the RTS I would argue that there has to be a huge almost entire population bias to substantiate an incorrect thought/information. Thats the beauty of it. With “SEO” it is arguably difficult to get to the top of the engines (or at least this is where most of the work is put in) but once you are there, you will probably stay there with continual monitoring. Therefore the “long tail” of bias information is surely more pronounced on SEO. That is what will make RTS more “real”

      It could possibly knock an income stream for Google as well possibly. The RTS feeds could be better for users than the sponsored links? Especially on actual products, “Property in Spain” as an example in my business.

      Interesting anyway, I shall look forward to our next brownie – did you hear that Marcus has negotiated his way out of buying me one next time!?

      Best wishes.


  4. John Corey said

    If Marcus negotiated his way out I sense two things.

    1. The words imply you feel he got out of something. That he somehow ended with the better position.
    2. You are not his equal in terms of negotiation.

    Otherwise I would expect you to say that you traded your brownie position for something more valuable.

    Coming back to the SM topic. My point is RTS is not less biased, it is just less commercial. It is the wisdom of crowds which works well some of the time and other times we end up with mob behavior (guilty before the facts are presented, majority rule even when a minority’s rights are in question, discrimination).

    Better to think of RTS as one measure or yardstick by which something can be measured. With Borg-like behavior Google can absorb the good bits while presenting the more classic search results. SEO is more than just gaming the system. SEO can be a recognition that quality content and making sure that information is shared is a valid way to be rated highly.

    Yesterday’s RTS would have produced pretty bad results if you wanted facts on the iPad vs. jokes and rumors. It takes a while for the noise to settle so you can get to the real messages. Also people need time to digest the noise so they can make sense of it. Tweets are closer to noise while blog articles that are well written are clearer signals. BTW – A signal can be both factual or a lie well presented. Hence the quality of the message can still mask the truth of the message.

    John Corey

    • John,

      You are a wise man. Of course, my trade with him has opened up a position of more value!

      Interesting what you say about RTS and the Ipad.


      • Marcus said

        Although I very much like John’s observations, especially point 2, I actually think my ‘brownie avoidance technique’ has resulted in a true win, win for the both of us. You win because, as Canny Corey notes, you’ve ended up with something of more value than a wee brownie and I win by removing my obligation under section 6 of the Brownie Commitments Act, 2009.

        Best wishes.


  5. richardjfrancis said

    I think what we’re seeing here is Darwin’s ‘evolution in action’. Whilst I think there was a tremendous amount of good sense talked last night about the mechanics and responsibilities surrounding SM – I really do have (as I think came across) some pretty big doubts about the premature demise of corporations and the methods they employ & measurement metrics they use in the really near future. As soon as the revolutionaries get heard proclaiming ‘Viva the people’ above the hubbub of normal noise – in my experience – resources in these behemoths are mobilised, analysis is done – and things are changed swiftly.

    I think we will see massive shift towards INDIVIDUAL responsibility on results ownership & content searching, but it’s coming in steps – albeit compressed ones from what we may be used to.

    Always happy to see extra hard (alongside soft) results & new ways to skin the cat though!


    • Richard,

      Appreciate your comments. One feature of RTS, as you have said, is that it will shift responsibility to the individual and thus on to the corporation – if they can harness the current moves in technology and move towards more transparency in their business models

      Relating this back to Real Estate, unless Estate Agents amend their current business models and accept that technology (both search technology and other issues like CRM models) they will look antiquated – however, I would not want to see larger agencies fail to make way for a more Americanised approach to selling houses.

      Best wishes Richard.


  6. John Corey said

    Taking this in another direction…

    We might be talking about an S curve in the technology space. People over promoting short term impact while under estimating the long term impact if the technology actually lives into the future. Having worked in Silicon Valley for close to a decade there were many revolutionary ideas that fizzled, some that were a success for a brief period and others that are still with us. One thing I did learn is real change comes slowly if you notice when something was first invented vs. when it becomes part of the public’s consciousness.

    Jony Ive, Senior VP for Design at Apple, said: “You know, its true. When something exceeds your ability to understand how it works it become magical.” Exceeding one’s ability to understand is tricky. Just because someone cannot understand is no reason to think it will stay magical. Sometimes we absorb the change quickly and the magic is assumed to be normal, day to day life. Other times we are reminded just how far we have come and the sense of magic is still there.

    RTS, is it magic or is it just another way for word of mouth advertising to flow? Is RTS a filter improving the signal you hear or is it closer to fire hose where you get pretty wet every time you try to drink from it?

    John Corey

  7. Dan Hare said

    If you think back to the early days of Google when ‘black hat’ SEO was rife, RTS is at a similar point now. The technologies will need to evolve to ensure that results are accurate and safe. Otherwise, people won’t use them.

    The interesting thing is that Twitter already has an inbuilt safeguard; follower count. Assessing follower and following ratios in a similar way to how Google assesses Pagerank would be a relatively effective way of keeping RTS accurate.

    Of course, for all the technological advances, RTS will always have one massive chink in the armour; human error. That is why experienced and rational Twitter users help put things like “Jonny Depp dies” into worldwide trending topics without any factual basis.

  8. […] is the original post: Is Google getting worried? « James' Blog about Property Posted on Styczeń 28th 2010 in Bez kategorii, […]

  9. James, thanks for sharing – crikey there is just so much to learn – it’s hard work just trying to keep standing still right now!

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