There’s no doubt that Google’s feeling the heat from Twitter. Just about everyone wants to know what Google has planned to address Twitter’s rise in dominance for "real time" search results.
The biggest problem for Google is that it’s built its market share by being the most relevant search engine. How can it balance relevance and ranking with freshness and trending?
Enter Hot Trends for search results.
Google has announced that when your search query matches one of the top 100 fastest rising search terms, you’ll see a graph at the bottom of the search page–complete with data on just how popular it is, how fast it’s rising and…that’s about it, actually.
There are a couple of problems with this integration.
Have you seen what makes it onto Google’s Hot Trends list these days? Allow me to demonstrate Hot Trends in search results, and just how utterly useless it can be, all in one screenshot:
Huh? Acne pillowcase? I’ve seen some bizarre stuff show up in Twitter Trends, but this one tops them all!
So, if this is Google’s response to "real time" search, you have to ask yourself what’s driving this data? Yeah, it’s search queries. Let me explain. When you look at most real time search engines–or Twitter Trends–the data is based on signals, such as what people are discussing or linking to. Right? Well, Hot Trends is based on what people are searching for on Google. So the question becomes this: what prompted the search in the first place? Hot Trends is not Google telling us what content is rapidly making its way into the index. Nope, it’s just what keywords are popular among searchers.
To its credit, Google is not presenting this new feature as its answer to real time search, but it’s subtly implied…
We hope it will help you keep up with everything there’s to know about the latest trends online. No more being out of the loop at your office watercooler!
Actually, we’ve replaced the watercooler with Twitter and Facebook. Google’s still the place we go to to dig deeper into the news we’ve just learned–not the place we go to discover it.