In the recent months, the real time search engine market has been firing-up. There are many services around trying to gain some market share in this newly found area. We did some research, read many articles, and covered up most of what’s out there (if we missed any service, please let us know in the comments).
We followed a simple criteria to pick services and build our list: Any service must be (1) Real-time and (2) NOT limited to Twitter search results. Here we go:
- Twingly’s microblog search: It covers Twitter, Jaiku, Identica, Bleeper, and a few other services. It’s dedicated to microblogging and offers a RSS subscription option for your searches. While being dominated by Twitter results, it gives you the option of filtering it out by un-checking a box on the side of the page. This makes Twingly one of the most customizable realtime search services covered in this article.
- Social Mention: Social Mention covers 80+ social media services including all of the major players (Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google, etc). While it has one of the neatest and most clean interfaces among the services we covered, it seems to be the slowest one – showing a list of flashing stars for up to 1 minutes sometimes! We like the various options it provides: the tab options, alerts, RSS subscriptions, the ranking/trending system, and the option of exporting your search results into CSV/Excel file, but slow speed is a deal-breaker! On the other hand, for social alerts and comprehensiveness, it’s one of the best.
- Yauba: Searches blogs, micro-blogs, social media sites, and many other types of Web content. Its real-time search includes results from Twitter and Identi.ca. We like that it’s built with privacy in mind, as it keeps no information about the users of the service (or so they claim). It’s fast to load, but many social media sites are missing for the mix, and search results layout could be organized better.
- OneRiot: It only scans Twitter and Digg for now, but promises to cover a wide range of social media services in the future. It seems to have a powerful instant link-indexing algorithm – @TobiasPeggs (the general manager) claims that content is indexed within 35 seconds -. It also offers real-time search browser add-ons and an API for developers. The way the results are shown is interesting, as it groups the popular links on Twitter and displays them according to popularity and timeline. But, it’s limited to Twitter and Digg, and does not show conversations, just links to online content.
- Scoopler: indexes a variety of services including Twitter, Identica, Flickr, Digg and Delicious. Unlike OneRiot, it focuses on both conversational search and link popularity. It also seems to take the number of shares and time elapsed into account when calculating their hot topics list, which is good in avoiding having “yesterday’s news” showing as a hot topic. They offer a “peek” feature that allows you to view a topic without leaving the search page – this is quite useful. The different services covered make Scoopler one of the most comprehensive realtime search services.
- itpints: It scans Twitter, Facebook status updates, StumbleUpon, Delicious, FriendFeed, Reddit, YouTube, Flicker, RSS feeds of popular news sites and blogs. It’s very simple and fast. An interesting feature is the option of subscribing by RSS to your topics of interest. Unfortunately, search results are again dominated by Twitter; nevertheless, it’s got some good potential.
- FriendFeed search: It shows results from Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious and tens of other social media services. It allows a user to connect and collect all his social Web activities into one place. If you are looking for your friends’ opinions regarding a certain topic, FF is great, if you want to perform a comprehensive search, most probably FF won’t cut it as it only indexes the users registered with their service.
- LifeStream.fm search: It’s a similar service to FriendFeed and supports 40+ services including the major social media websites (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Stumble upon, Pownce, and Digg). Unfortunately it only searches events of the users subscribed to their services. This puts it at the same disadvantage as FriendFeed.
- Collecta: It collects Tweets, blog posts, Flickr photos and more. It sounds interesting but still in its alpha testing stages, with some teaser functionality previews open to the public. The feature that caught our attention is the dynamic way real-time results are presented in. The results are obtained from blogs such as WordPress.com and blogs.cnn.com. But, if it does not include social networking (such as Twitter and Identi.ca) and social bookmarking sites (like Digg and Reddit) in its mix, it’s going to miss out on much of the action!
The did-not-make-it-list. This includes the services removed from the main list above, because they are not real time or restricted to Twitter only:
- Topsy: Although this provides some good insights about the active Twitterers in relation to a certain story, it is limited to Twitter. In my opinion, it can be useful to find not only conversations and links, but people, too.
- SearchMerge: It’s search capabilities indexes FriendFeed, Last.FM, Google, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and other services. But not in real-time. We like the product, but it didn’t make our list!
- Twitter Search: Obviously it didn’t make our list because it’s limited to tweets, but it’s the fastest way to search Twitter!
- TweetMeme: Again a great and real-time service, but limited to Twitter. The bunch of smart people behind it figured that there are many similar Twitter search services around, so to be noticed they created a trendy ‘ReTweet’ button – the same as the one at the top of this post!
- Realtime@Google@Omgili: It is a 2 day old service which integrates Web page indexing with real-time Twitter results and re-tweet ranking. Again, it’s a great start for Omgili to take a chunk of the real time search market, but it’s still limited to Twitter.
While there are a lot of similarities in the services provided by the above real-time search engines, there are also some unique differences that make each one of them unique in a way or another. Which one is your favorite? Do you think real-time search is valuable or maybe over-rated? Please use the comments section below to let us know your thoughts.