Published on Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why You Need to Know More about Real-Time Search (Part I)


If you're a SEO or PPC expert, a brand marketer, or focused on click-throughs and conversion rates, you need to understand the impact of Real-Time Search. Why? Because Real-Time Search has already affected these disciplines and will continue to do so.
Some of Mike's answers will surprise you. Some will challenge your current assertions of Social Media. .
Interview with Mike Grehan
Larry Chase: What's your definition of Real-Time Search?
Mike Grehan: My definition of Real-Time Search is "as the conversation is happening." I have a slightly different twist on what real time actually means.
There are two sides to Real-Time Search. In one, I could go on Twitter and say, "Where's a good sushi restaurant?" I will get a wave of suggestions, but they can't tell me if there's a table available at 8pm.
This is what I'm saying is Real-Time Search: I open my OpenTable application on my iPhone. I've already geo-located my cell phone so the application knows where I am. The app knows what I like to eat, whether sushi or Italian, and it will tell me the nearest restaurant locations.
This proprietary application can also access the reservation systems of those restaurants so it can tell me if there's a table open at 8pm.
Short-Term Versus Long-Term Search Needs
LC: Is the query "I want something now that's near me" part of your universe of Real-Time Search?
MG: Yes, but the future is in satisfying long-term information needs in real time.
I am a Yankees fan, so I might query, "What was the score last night?" Later, I ask, "Did they buy a new player?" Then I ask again, "Is the new stadium open yet?"
Google knows I want this information so why don't they deliver it in real time to my device? This is, I believe, where the future of search is going.
It's not necessarily providing information that's available on the Web. It is someone satisfying my information needs without me having to ask for it. Google can't do that at the moment, but there are many apps on my iPhone that can.
The CNN app gives me an alert on the news stories that I want. The minute it happens, CNN breaks through on my device and says, "Here's a new story on that topic you selected."
Search Future: Real-Time Apps, Not Browsers
 LC: Will little apps take the place of search?
MG: I recently heard a Google senior engineer say we are "moving from a 2.0 Web of content to a Web of applications."
One of the criticisms about Apple's new iPad is that it uses the Safari browser. Who cares? I've got 15,000 apps sidestepping the browser and getting my information in real time.
When I want to watch a video on my iPhone, I have a YouTube application. When I want to book a restaurant, I have an app. When I want to go to Facebook, I have the Facebook app. When I go to Twitter, I have TweetDeck.
All of these apps are sidestepping the browser. I don't need to go in through the browser and log in to Twitter.com.
Is HTTP Old Hat?
LC: Do you think the activity of searching will plateau?
MG: In the way the end user is conducting search, yes. For research, you'll always want to go online and find out, say, how many elephants Hannibal had. But there's the likelihood that Wikipedia will have an app available so you might be able to do that on your iPhone.
The HTTP protocol is a great thing for online shopping and banking, but for searching, it's becoming antiquated because you can't get enough real-time data.
Smart Search
LC: Are personal search butlers (like Google Alerts) part of Real-Time Search?
MG: I do have to request this information in the first place. In the future, Google will know what I want and give it to me so that I don't have to peruse all the blue links [delivered on the search results page]. The trade-off is privacy.
People look at Google like a black box, and nobody knows how it works or what's inside. What they don't realize is that Google is also looking at you as if you were a black box, and it knows nothing about you. The more you get to know about each other, think how much more relevant the information would be.
Mike Grehan is VP and Global Content Director for Search Engine Watch and ClickZ. He produces the Search Engine Strategies international conferences. SES New York begins March 22. He also chairs the SES Global Advisory Board.
Courtesy of Web Digest for Marketers. Kudos to Sr. Editor Janet Roberts, who condensed this series of two intricate interviews below down to their core essentials.
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