The reason why Twitter and real-time information will overtake Google search isn’t because of the aggregation of the ‘Thought stream’ as Techcrunch has proposed, as Lew Moorman has written, or even as Robert Scoble has written.
For some reason, we still think that a new service will totally replace the old, and that the two compete on the same field, even though Robert’s post alluded to where I see the real advantage for real-time information.
Google provides signposts for where you want to go. Twitter provides you with a guided tour by your friends.
It’s not about searching the aggregate of real-time information.
It’s about asking the members of your network in real-time for responses.
I don’t care as much about the general consensus of the population of Twitter about a subject as often as I care about the opinions of the core group of my 2300 followers on the specific question I’ve posed.
And that’s where the threat to Google occurs. As a normal Twitter user, I’ll occasionally look at what the general populace reports around breaking news or a major event. But it’s the closer network within my followers who provide the real value of responding in minutes, or even seconds, to my requests and questions.
It allows people (and one day, perhaps companies), to come to me with the information I need, rather than setting out on my own to try to navigate my way to what I need.
Real-time web allows me to ask for information and have it brought to me by my core group of contacts and relevant people/companies. That’s the real-time benefit – not in evolving search.
But this doesn’t mean that there is no need for search.
Guided Tours by friends don’t remove the need for signposts, for example when friends aren’t available.
I’m already finding that I use search far, far less than ever before.
Real time search is only really valuable when there is a need to guage public opinion for businesses, marketeers, journalists, writers etc. (the last two refer to print, web, blog, tv, radio, mobile).
So trust me to choose search, questioning friends, or real-time search when it’s appropriate for what I want to do, and don’t rip up all the singposts in case I don’t know anyone in a particular town!