Points of View: Will real-time search affect the business of search?

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | January 18, 2010
Google and Bing have introduced the concept of real-time search, which will also show results from recent Twitter, Facebook and blog updates. Is this the way to go now?

Google and Bing have introduced the concept of real-time search, which will also show results from recent Twitter, Facebook and blog updates. Is this the way to go now?

Pushkar Sane
Chief digital officer, North and South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group

For starters, it will increase the 'volume' of indexed pages and the natural search rankings for brands may change rapidly based on momentum built by social conversations. Brands will need to re-orient their approach for search as it will bring up organic results with social conversations, making it difficult for brands to get their 'controlled content' in front of people. They will have to try harder in organising content, integrating 'social elements' and optimising it continuously.

While positive conversations will help in enhancing brand equity, negative ones will accelerate the erosion as bad news travels fast. Finally, brands need to create a seamless strategy for digital with search and social at its core by getting rid of specialist silos within digital or within marketing.

Mohit Hira
President, Training.com, NIIT

If you had searched, on Google for Copenhagen on the morning after the climate talks failed, you'd have first got a Google Map result and then one old item on the Climate Summit followed by a Wikipedia entry. Now, try the same search in real-time using Google's Experimental Lab. You'd get links posted by the minute on BBC, Twitter, YouTube and a chronological list that grows longer before your eyes.

The action has been shifting from publishers to user-generated social media content. If you're smart enough to worm your brand into digital conversations in real-time, you're likely to get picked up. Not in weeks or months, as is the case with new sites and search engine optimisation (SEO), but in minutes. But this doesn't mean that life is short for search engine marketing (SEM). It will take a while before everyone switches to real-time search by default. Also, things will be unpredictable in the short term.

Mahesh Murthy
Founder and chief executive officer, Pinstorm

SEO has become a low-value commodity activity, farmed out to individuals.
Till a few years ago, all you had to optimise were text results. Today, a smart business will optimise results related to text, videos, images, twitter updates and blog entries - because the search engine results page consists of all of these.

I hope it will lead advertisers to increase their focus on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Advertisers will find that if they are not on Twitter, their customers and rivals already are - and that the conversation is already going on there. Many brands tend to think of things in the TV paradigm - 'run me a month-long campaign'. A social media campaign has to be 24 x 7 x 365.

Gaurav Mishra
Chief executive officer, 20:20 Social

I believe that real-time search is indeed a game-changer for search. The real power of Twitter lies in being Able to search for tweets about people, brands, locations and events in real-time. The ability to search real-time status updates is already changing search behaviour for early adopters like me. I use Twitter search to discover what people are saying about a breaking news story or who else is present at the event I am attending.

As this behaviour is adopted by the mainstream, I expect profound repercussions for both brands and publishers. An important change is that search results will become both more dynamic and personalised - meaning that search engine marketing will begin to look more like social media marketing. Suddenly, the depth, duration and keyword density of your content will begin to matter less and the freshness, relevance and proximity of our conversations will begin to matter more.

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