9 Real-Time Search Engines Which Go Beyond Twitter

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).

Twingly Search Filter Sidebar


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    SocialMention - Comprehensive but slow!

    SocialMention - Comprehensive but slow!

  3. 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.
    Yauba's Realtime seach can be layed-out better!

    Yauba's Realtime Seach - Maybe a better results layout?

  4. 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.
    OneRiot - Limited to Twitter and Digg, but mainly Twitter!

    OneRiot - Limited to Twitter and Digg, but mainly Twitter!

  5. 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.
    Scoopler -

    Scoopler - Comprehensive but dominated by Twitter

  6. 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.
  7. 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.
    FriendFeed Real-time search, but limited to FF users' content

    FriendFeed Real-time search, but limited to FF users' content

  8. 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.
  9. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. Twitter Search: Obviously it didn’t make our list because it’s limited to tweets, but it’s the fastest way to search Twitter!
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

Comments and Reactions

  • http://es-la.facebook.com/people/Javier-Arias/1342377502 Javier Arias

    Wow! it’s a very good analysis of these kind of services. Thank you very much!

  • http://es-la.facebook.com/people/Javier-Arias/1342377502 Javier Arias

    BTW, I’m the developer of itpints, and I really like to know what ppl think about the site. So thanks again for your comments about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tobias-Peggs/501811029 Tobias Peggs

    hey there, thanks for the shout out! Just a quick note to say we _do_ show the conversations… we group them around each search result. Just click the “expand” link under each result, and you'll see who has tweeted (or dugg, etc) the link, and what they said. Our thought was that this approach would offer users a way to join to join a targeted conversation around a particular piece of content (e.g. “this specific video from Radiohead is cool”) rather than a general worldwide conversation (e.g. “I love Radiohead”), hopefully driving more value from their social interactions. However, I'd love to know what your users think! All the best, and thank again. Tobias. (PS: you can search for this blog post too, to see how popular it is on the social web: http://bit.ly/9x7sn remember to click “expand” to see who is sharing it and what they are saying :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tobias-Peggs/501811029 Tobias Peggs

    hmmm… there seems to be some redirect problems with the link as it's passed though facebook connect etc. Just copy and paste URL http://blog.thoughtpick.com/2009/05/9-real-time... into our search box, and hit search. Enjoy :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Thanks for the comment. I just replaced the link with a bit.ly link that works :)

    Regarding the conversations on OneRiot, I am thinking that it's a better approach if someone is searching for a website, and what to see what conversations are going on about it – plus the ability to join them.

    But, if some one is looking for something that does not include a link – say a piece of information, or a discussion about a certain topic, OneRiot will not be suitable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tobias-Peggs/501811029 Tobias Peggs

    thanks for the link :)
    Yes, you are correct that we “focus on the content, and allow you to see the conversation”, rather than “show you the conversation, and allow you to find the content”. Obviously search.twitter does a great job at helping you find the conversation. I also love the way Scoopler show you the conversation and popular links in another column. (they are also really cool guys :).
    What we found with conversation search, though, was that it's easy to spam. As a very simple example, i could tweet “Obama is awesome <link to my porn movie>” and that would show up as a result for “Obama”. By indexing the content on the pages people share, and then showing content / links in the search results, you start to combat the spammers that are flooding into social media. (of course, this will be a never ending game – just like it is for the traditional search engines).
    Fun times – and lots of work ahead :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    So, what is your relation to OneRiot? You're commenting using your Facebook account so I cannot really see any info or Twitter account for you.

    Regarding content vs. conversation, I think I agree to a certain extent. I like to find content, but not every search condition gives the best outcome if it's content-only in the universe of Tweets and Notices. The point from real-time is getting information that is “fresh”. An article needs time to be written, edited and published, so I see some sort of logical-negation between a search engine that is “real-time” which only provides content-based searching.

    What do you think? You do have a great service indeed, and I wish you the best of luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tobias-Peggs/501811029 Tobias Peggs

    i'm @tobiaspeggs on twitter – the GM at OneRiot. I agree that there are different ways to skin the cat… we've focused on delivering (what we hope is!) the best content experience out there. Keep your eyes open for future releases :)

  • http://www.technama.com/ MJK

    hay! I really enjoyed reading the post since it added to my knowledge. I would love to cover the other search engines on my site as well since you provided me with a starting point.
    Thanks for quoting technama as well.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    @Javier Arias, good work man. I like the engine so far. I have one small recommendation, can you provide a further options of filtering out specific sites? For instance if I to uncheck live streaming options, I would lose all of the live streaming action, but what if I only want to filter out twitter?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    I agree with you! @Fadipick has clearly taken the extra mile to prepare such an analysis! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Best of luck!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    I agree with you! @Fadipick has clearly taken the extra mile to prepare such an analysis! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Best of luck!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    That is an interesting way to look at it Amer, but I think that the idea behind OnRiot is to rank content based on real-time popularity. It is similar in a way to TweetMeme. I think that if you provide a nice 'Tweet this' button, they would gain much better attention but that would make them limited to twitter.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    hey @TobiasPeggs, I actually like the idea of having the conversations at the “expand” link. Good work

    May I suggest to provide an option to filter out both twitter or Digg? I mean for instance I just wanted to see the conversations generated at twitter, I can't filter out Digg results, right? I think this is a very simple implementation, just add 2 check boxes next to the number of Diggs/Tweets at the top of the conversation panel. When you uncheck one of the them you automatically filter it out.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    hey @MJK, great work at TechNama! Let us know when you are done with that :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Great post and a widely comprehensive analysis! So far, I really like Social Mention for a few reasons:

    1. The name is very catchy and social!
    2. It is easy to use and very direct to the point!
    3. It covers a wide range of social media services.

    I will have to check the others and let you know what I think.

    Btw, one final comment: I really like the “did not make it list”!

    Great job @fadipick!

  • http://www.all140.com/ lukas

    we also built a twitter based real time news mag


    would be cool if you could add it to your list


  • Joey

    How about Twazzup.com? I believe it's limited to Twitter. What do you think of it?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I don't really see a big difference between it and search.twitter.com. I actually think I like twitter search more. I guess I'm used to it. What do you think of it?
    Thanks for the comment :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tobias-Peggs/501811029 Tobias Peggs

    yes, agreed, that would be a nice UI touch… i've just logged it!

  • http://www.toddysm.com toddysm

    Waw! This is great analysis @FadiPick. Now, my question: what are the SEO techniques for those search engines? ;) I like SocialMention though – especially the statistics on the left.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    hey toddysm, thanks :), I like socialmention as well, I just wish it is faster! As for the SEO technique, we need to do another full research for it! :) :P

  • http://www.linespout.com/ Akash

    Hi Fadi, may I suggest my real time search site Line Spout – at http://www.linespout.com. Thanks.

  • http://eyeflow.com/blog/brandreputationa-survival-guide-to-the-social-media-jungle/ Brand Reputation: A Survival Guide to the Social Media Jungle | Eyeflow’s SEO Blog

    [...] many of them popping up lately. The big hits are socialmention and OneRiot. The complete list is here. In these search engines you can search for your brand name to see the social activity around it in [...]

  • http://surchur.com Monika_Lorincz

    Great list – however you missed one great search engine – surchur! :) We've been in the real time search business for over a year. We're only getting better with every passing month as we update according to customer feedback.

    Monika Lorincz

  • http://twitter.com/drburix02 John Park

    Here's one more: feedmil.com – a real-time feed search engine

  • http://www.linkedin.com/companies/seop SEOP.com

    I've used some of these, including FriendFeed. It is good but it just needs to have a bigger network like Twtter to be better. I hope more people start using it.

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