Google Adds Live Social Media Updates to Search

The announcement yesterday that Google will now supplement its search capabilities by providing instantaneous updates from postings on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, lends even more importance to creating a social media strategy for your company.

In the past, blog entries and other social media postings took several minutes before appearing in the Google search engine. According to a New York Times story on the announcement made in Mountainview, CA, Google recognized the need for instant access to these postings was reflective of today’s communications needs.

“Clearly in today’s world, that’s not fast enough,” Amit Singhal, a Google fellow, said at a press conference at the Computer History Museum here. “Information is being posted at a pace we’ve never seen before, and in this environment, seconds matter.”

Although providing access to these social media postings is not new for Google, the fact that they will now become instantly available in search listings can be a boon to those wishing to promote live events or appear prominently in stories surrounding breaking news.

The New York Times story reviewed a couple of cases on how the new search features were being incorporated into major news topics on Google.   

A search for “Copenhagen” on Google, for instance, where global climate talks are under way, produces the standard Web results, but with a box in the middle of the page where blog items, press releases, news articles and tweets scroll past.

The box updates every few seconds. A tweet from Tom Nguyen (@tomng) in the Bay Area read: “It’s snowing in North Beach. Explain that, Copenhagen.” Searching for “Pearl Harbor” on Monday, the 68th anniversary of the attack, turned up tweets from people who were memorializing those who died there, while the live results for “Tiger Woods” were less family-friendly.

For those companies looking to take advantage of these search engine capabilities, relevance remains the key element in the approach.  For companies like ours here at iMedia Public Relations, we’ll continue to look for ways to get our client’s message out on Twitter, Facebook and other outlets in a way that maximizes exposure for them and is relevant to news topics of the day.

Having a strategy and sticking to it starts you on the path. How you navigate it determines where others find you or your clients in their search for information.

 Tom Cosentino

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