December 8, 2009

Why social media wallflowers may be set to come in from the cold

Christmas has come early at the Googleplex, with not just one but two potentially game changing announcements set to shake up search and the way in which companies do business on the web.

Google has unveiled details of its long-awaited real-time search function, which looks like bringing social media wallflowers in from the cold.

Rolling out globally this week, real-time Google results will see social media conversations, comments and general buzz appear above traditional results.

So, if for example, you enter the search time ‘Obama’, a user will see what is being said about the US president at the precise moment they entered the search term on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter among others.

What’s more, a ‘latest results’ button will enable users to see the live-search results arrive in a steam as they happen. This is pretty big news.

In short, if you’re a company or brand not yet on say Twitter, you’re going to start seriously thinking about doing something about it. This will be especially true for small to medium sized businesses.

Anyone that has historically relied on Google traffic to drive traffic and business leads will need to think their social media presence.

Real-time data is now the first section of results a user sees in Google. It will be placed above traditional web search results. Being first in traditional Google search results is now less important.

For those already dipping their toes in social media, you’re going to dominate real-time search results in the short-term, and be in a good position to build high awareness in the long-term.

Separately, check out the Google Goggles video below. It’s pretty impressive stuff. Goggles is a visual search app for Android phones, which recognises objects such as a local business using the camera phone and returns relevant search results.

Google Goggles certainly has the wow factor, but is it enough to make iPhone users give up their favourite smart phone? Probably not, but it definitely gives Android an edge in the mobile phone search space.