Update: A couple hours after this post was published, Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker shared this statement with us:
We’ve temporarily disabled google.com/realtime. We’re exploring how to incorporate our recently launched Google+ project into this functionality going forward, so stay tuned.
Also see our updated article with more details, As Deal With Twitter Expires, Google Realtime Search Goes Offline.
Below is the original article….
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As I noted a couple of days ago, Google has started rolling out user interface changes to many of their products, including search. Google plans to continuing evolving the UI throughout the summer, and in some cases, that includes removing functionality. Presumably, Google is removing features that weren’t used often or are being replaced with other functionality. Earlier today, we noted that Google confirmed removal of the Wonder Wheel, which, while never the most dazzling in graphic design, was pretty cool for visually exploring related topics (both for searchers and for researchers).
But now, real-time updates has gone missing. A glitch or is it gone for good? I’m thinking it’s a glitch. Signs it’s gone:
- The direct URL to real-time search is currently a 404.
- The “Realtime” option is no longer in the Google search left sidebar
- The “Realtime results” is missing from the News OneBox
Signs this might be a glitch:
- The @googlerealtime Twitter account is still live and active.
- The Google Realtime landing page is still live.
- The Google Realtime help information is still live.
I also find it unlikely that this was intentional, as searching Twitter and other real-time updates has become so integral to news results. See a few examples below of how things looked before Realtime Search disappeared.
Now there’s a bunch of white space where the Tweets column used to be.
Postscript: See As Deal With Twitter Expires, Google Realtime Search Goes Offline.