The real-time web

My Reuters column on the real-time web was posted today. If you want to leap to the conclusion:

If the real-time web is more than a fad, there are two likely developments. First, it can’t remain largely the property of Twitter. The success of the Internet has been fueled by its openness. Twitter is more like the closed gardens — think AOL — of the web’s early history. I love the real-time web, but I don’t want to be locked into Twitter. There are also major questions as to whether Twitter, a centralized system, can truly scale globally. Users are already accustomed to seeing the fail whale. Alternatives will emerge, and they will be open, not closed. Second, Google will need to find a way to respond to the real-time web, beyond its largely unheralded, rather timid steps with PubSubHubbub. Google founder Larry Page acknowledged earlier this year that Twitter had stolen a march on the search giant. If Google doesn’t provide real-time search, it can’t be the world’s best search engine. And if it loses that crown, the lock it has on advertising dollars will fade away as well.

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2 thoughts on “The real-time web

  1. Ari Newman

    IMO, the real-time web is far more than Twitter already. Yes, twitter’s search does a good job of exposing the RT concept but conversations happen all over the web in RT every second of every day. Companies like Filtrbox and RT search engines already aggregate conversation from more than just Twitter in RT.

    Love this topic!
    – Ari

  2. mary hodder

    The real time web (latest name for it, was also “the live web” from 2003 to present) is not just twitter. It’s been about data that we’ve published and collected for years. I worked on my first live-web or real-time search and discovery engine in 1999 (though we didn’t refer to it in those terms .. we just thought about it as “live data” and “live search” then.) I did my masters work at berkeley on this kind of data and system work in 2004 and many others have been working on live systems for search and discovery for longer than I have (10 years).

    The point is.. calling it real-time is the next fad to help companies get funding, help sites like techcrunch get clicks to sell ads, and give the legacy press the next new thing to talk about. None of its new, except that microblogging sites like twitter add another new data stream to all the other data streams that already existed (flickr, blogs, youtube, etc).



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