Google already has a real-time search – of sorts

I've been watching this growing discussion about the importance of the real-time web and how Twitter has the distinct advantage in this area that would make it a pearl of an acquisition based solely on its real-time nature. At the same time just about everyone and their brother is suggesting that Google needs to up its game and get on the real-time search bandwagon.

While my personal feelings about the whole real-time web as being evangelized by all the heavy hitters in the tech blogosphere is still sitting on the fence it was nice to see some sensible thoughts today from Mike Elgan regarding Google and real-time search. The interesting take away from Mike's post is that Google's regular search is as good as it is because the company indexes almost everything on the web and that by tossing real-time search into the mix we would be in danger of ruining the results Google returns.

As Mike points out

Google will not, cannot and should not try to offer real-time search for everything on the Internet. One reason is spam. You already can't stand just the spam that comes flooding into your own personal e-mail inbox. You definitely don't want all spam posted everywhere.

With real-time search, spammers can monitor existing sites to see what people are writing about or searching for. Let's say there's a giant earthquake in L.A. Everybody wants to jump on their real-time search engine to get updates. It's trivially easy for spammers to start bombing the Internet with spam loaded with the "earthquake" keyword.

This is already happening, even on Twitter. The more people use real-time search, the more time and energy spammers will devote to exploiting it.

In this I agree wholeheartedly with Mike but people seem to be forgetting one thing. Google already has the basis of real-time search up and running. It's call Google Blog Search and it is very good at returning extremely recent results of blogs posts. I've seen even my own posts from both here at The Inquisitr and my home home blog, Shooting at Bubbles, show up within minutes of being posted.

Now granted this is only blog posts and to the real-time purists even five minutes is ancient but the fact is that with a little tweaking I'm sure that even that could be speeded up. Not too mention that it probably would take very little effort from Google engineers to add in services like Twitter, Friendfeed or any other so-called real-time service.

So rather than Google having to re-invent the wheel all they really have to do is tighten the spokes of what they already have.