Google shuts down Realtime Search

The end of a deal with Twitter caused the shutdown as Google may opt to include Google+ results instead of Twitter posts

Google has shut down its Realtime Search offering after its agreement to include Twitter results expired. The search giant appears to be planning to incorporate results from its own newly launched Google+ service instead of Twitter posts.

Google started including information like status updates and other public content from sites including Twitter and Facebook in search results in 2009. Initially, the results were incorporated into the main search site where users could navigate through the filtering options on the left-hand column to see the Realtime results.

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But last year Google launched a standalone page, google.com/realtime, where users could specifically search for such results.

That URL is now displaying a 404 error page that says: The requested URL /realtime was not found on this server. That's all we know.

Google confirmed that it has disabled the service but said it plans to start up the service again. "We've temporarily disabled google.com/realtime. We're exploring how to incorporate our recently launched Google+ project into this functionality going forward, so stay tuned," it said in a statement. "Our vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources."

Google shut down the Realtime feed after its agreement with Twitter, which allowed the search giant to include Twitter messages through a special feed, expired on July 2, Google said. While it no longer has access to that feed, Google will continue to include Twitter information that is publicly available to its crawlers, it said.

The special feed gave Google a unique edge in that it was able to include older Twitter messages that are not available directly from Twitter.com. The Searchengineland blog, which first noticed that Realtime Search was disabled, noted that a small search engine called Topsy may be the only remaining site with access to historical Twitter messages.

Google left the door open to another possible agreement with Twitter. "Twitter has been a valuable partner for nearly two years, and we remain open to exploring other collaborations in the future," it said.

Microsoft's Bing also includes Twitter posts in search returns and appears to be continuing to do so.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for the IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com.

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