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.