In a previous post, Why Should Search Care About Social, I talked about search engines needing to better incorporate social and real-time search results as part of their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Since then, there have been a few developments by both Google and Bing. Here is a very preliminary review of progress so far:
Once the SERP shows in Google, you can expand out a "Show More Options" link to provide you with time-specific results by "Recent Results", "Past 24 Hours", Past Week", "Past Year", or a "Specific Date".
However, "Recent Results" are not very recent, at least for the real-time searcher's needs. Searches I've tested can vary from 3 hours, to 9 hours to 3 days ago, which is a lifetime in the social world (maybe this is the reason why they keep it relatively hidden).
Search Engine Land recently revealed a Hidden Google Feature to find out what's new in the last minute or second. However, there are still kinks to work out, as revealed the day after the VMA awards:
@adamvonwillis RT @dannysullivan: still how "real time" is google's search w only 4 matches on kanye west in past min - How pathetic!
We need to cut Google some slack though. Since it's a hidden feature, it will be work in progress, and I'm sure this will be much improved once it is officially revealed to the public at large.
Bing have a Beta site called Bing Tweets which claim to "Fuse Twitter Trends with Bing Insights".
Bing Tweets provide a way to learn more about what trending topics are about on Twitter, by showing Twitter Trend topics side-by-side with Bing search results on those topics. It's a nice step forward, but mostly comes across as separate Twitter-specific and Bing-specific elements, lumped together on one page. Here's a breakdown of each element:
The top left of the page displays the trending topics on Twitter, along with an RSS feed showing tweets mentioning a highlighted trending topic down the left side. A nice touch is being able to view topics by either "Popular Now" (all topics), "People", "Places" and "Products".
The majority of the Bing Tweets page is taken up with the standard Bing Search Results, using the highlighted trending topic as the keyword. The results, or course, include universal results such as video.
Search Bing and Twitter
The "Search Bing and Twitter" function on the top right of the page allows you to conduct your own keyword search so that you are not limited to just the top trending topics. This is nice as you can do searches on your own company and products, for example.
Share This Result
Bing pre-populates a message within "Share This Result", leading people back to the Bing results page. They also cleverly utilize a #bing hashtag, helping to increase their Twitter exposure.
Probably the nicest part about the "Share this Result" feature is allowing you to easily share the page via Twitter or via other popular social media vehicles (including Digg, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and others).
So overall, some nice, positive steps forward, but there is still a long way to go to winning the real-time search war.