Google Real Time Search Too Personal?

I think Google have got their priorities wrong with Real Time search, though I haven’t seen this on other “ego search” terms. I checked with Danny Sullivan and Michael Arrington to start with.


As I have mentioned before, I could understand and even encourage Google to somehow decide to pull in my most recent blog posts as part of their real time search. Most people searching for me it is most likely a regular reader doing a navigational query looking for my latest blog posts, not my latest tweets.

I see this with both a UK and US search, personalization switched off in the query, and logged out

This is an “Anytime” search – no need to select “latest”


Update – Chris Brogan Too


I wonder where Chris would prefer the traffic to go, blog or Twitter?

I can’t track search traffic to Twitter

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  1. says

    It seems to me that Twitter is another of Google’s chosen heroes of the moment. I’m sure this will change as they realsie Twiiter gets spammed as much as anything else. They downgraded squidoo that’s for sure

  2. says

    Good point, in fact Twitter becomes more important now. Probably will affect the web sites listed first in Google if they list the real-time results on the first page.

  3. Exclusive Media News says

    I too have noticed this i searched a keyword or two and thought of it as being great but as the searches went on i also realized it could become a sercurity risk if something personal is posted and google spiders it.

    • says

      For me it is nothing to do with privacy – anything you put out on the web has a chance to be seen by others even if you thought it was private – if you post it in public, Google will most likely evaluate whether it is worth indexing.
      In this case it is to do with conversion, tracking and as many have noted, the competitive value of keywords.

      One of my tweets isn’t necessarily relevant to Andy Beard, but it might be relevant to another search term – that is why I think indexation of Twitter is a huge issue, as are the nofollow links from Twitter to other resources.

  4. says

    You may be surprised to know that even domains which are under Privacy Protection of some kind at the domain registrar can still have the Whois data put appear on the search results by Google even months later. That’s why they say, nothing you put online goes away.

    So for bloggers, how much is your privacy worth to you when even Eric Schmidt said something to this effect recently, which I understood as, “If you want to ‘appear’ online, you should be prepared to lose some part of your privacy.”

    • says

      I am not worried about the grouping, it is just the inability to track it and lack of doing something more sensible such as including my RSS latest items instead

      Twitter doesn’t even provide me with a legal way to include contact information and disclaimers.

  5. says

    I dont think this problem wont last long we all know that Google is trying to match twitter when it comes to real time search, time will only tell whether Google will get this right.

  6. says

    HAHAHA…I noticed this one too. Not just on searching Andy Beard but for almost all keywords searched in google. Try it! There will always be a KEYWORD-on-TWITTER among the search results page. Is google flaunting they are in partnership with twitter?!

  7. says

    While I agree that a blogger would primarily want to showcase their blog, first and foremost, I think there is something to be said for ‘rolling with a fad’. Surely as Twitter fades, so will it’s prominence in the SERPs, and that will give everyone something else to worry about. As an aspiring Trust Agent, I want to be able to ‘use the tools of the moment with regards to the web at large’. Depending on might consider changing the way one tweets, knowing that it might get top billing over their blog. I’m honestly curious how Chris feels about it.

  8. says

    Yes, that is quite annoying. However, I echo a similar viewpoint as some of the previous comments. It is probably just a temporary thing with Google. Social Media is a buzz word at the moment and Google realises this and as a result they are piggybacking on it.

    I share your concerns though, if someone searches for your name and they see something that appears to be offensive this can have a negative impact. What they don’t see is the context. This can be quite a regular occurrence.

    However, all you can do is just watch and let it play itself out. Good post.

  9. says

    I agree – I absolutely hate the Twitter stream showing up in my Google searches! I can’t wait for this fad to pass.

    (What? No! I’m not biased because people searching for “ILIAA,” the abbreviation for our association are reading someone’s Tweets before our link – perish the thought!)

  10. Javon says

    Good point, in fact Twitter becomes more important now. Probably will affect the web sites listed first in Google if they list the real-time results on the first page.

  11. says

    The twitter stream is pretty annoying and shows up a lot of unrelated information. I am not sure why Google felt it necessary to jump on the real time search bandwagon. If it was to capture some of the traffic that twitter captures around news events, why not stream it into Google news. For me, it doesn’t enhance for the results page for most searches !!!

  12. says

    I’ve come across the same thing and at the moment it does seem too much weight is being giving to real time (for certain keywords certainly), bearing in mind that newest doesn’t always equate to most relevant.

    But Google’s real time is still utterly in its infancy, as time goes by I’m sure their metrics will be ironed out and weightings will become more focused, but for now I see Google’s real time effectively being at Beta stage, and in that respect they’re still playing catch up to Twitter.

  13. says

    I have been experimenting with the real time search for the last few days, and it works well for casual, conversational searches or those that demand information on very recent events.

    For example a search like ‘Rage Against The Machine’ bring up real time tweets on commenting on them getting to the xmas number one.

    This was really useful on Sunday when I wanted to find out who had won the chart race as no other results on Google were supplying the information, presumably because it had not been written or crawled by Google yet.

    On the other hand, when it comes to more serious information searches on non-real time issues, the twitter results appear low quality and too casual to be of any use to me.


  14. Shyam Kapur says

    I enjoyed this post and the comments. There is no question that Google rushed its implementation of this feature. A more thoughtful approach could have been attempted by investing some more time in building relevant technologies like, for example, TipTop has built. I also do not think anyone has a right to question what shows up when they do a search for their name. It is the community of users that will together determine what is useful and what is not, not any one individual’s preference.

  15. says

    As I’ve said many times on SEOMoz and Twitter, I’m very sceptical about real-time search. There is too much that can go wrong with it. If you searched something like “Pope incident”, you could get something completely random, irrelevant and perhaps even offensive.

    That isn’t the only reason why I dislike it, but there are far too many things for me to go into this weekend – shattered!

  16. says

    What I don’t get is this:

    If I Google the words “used cars” does this mean I’m going to get Twitter results about “used cars” because if it does I’m using Bing… I have a facebook and have to read enough crap as it is without seeing peoples post about used cars…

    If I’m trying to buy a car, the last thing I care about is what someone on the other side of the world thinks about used cars…

    I get it if I Googled “Angelina Jolie” but thats unlikely…

    • says

      I don’t know the current criteria for including a Twitter account.

      If there was a Twitter account called used cars, there is a chance it would appear for sure, not just a news event

  17. Hotel Booking says

    Google has always been innovative about making the search more user friendly and I thinks it will be good for regular readers to jump directly to the most recent post.

  18. says

    I think the real time search should be further down in the search results.

    It would be funny to see a real time search, “Hey I just picked my nose” when people search for your name.

  19. says

    Google already exposes a lot of stuff about people, and without any recourse to remove stuff from their results – for some people it is down right embarrassing. With google showing more and more about the world, and the individual people in it, and growing their services but taking over chunks of the world and aggregating others, I wonder what the future holds for our privacy with google. The could compile info not only from twitter, but linked in, and the social networks, combine that with the mapping technology and plop down a streetview of your house, office, and the entertainment venues you have been sighted at. It’s down right scary how much worse it can get in the future.

  20. says

    Google already exposes a lot of stuff about people, and without any recourse to remove stuff from their results – for some people it is down right embarrassing.