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Facebooks New Twitter-Like Elements Highlight Real-Time Search Need

2009.04.06
People Want to Know What's Being Said Now
As previously reported, Facebook is set to launch changes to its news feeds that will give it more Twitter-like functionality. The changes are set to launch next week, and will update feeds in real-time.

In addition to that, the status box is becoming a publisher box. Rather than only allowing users to update their status, it will now allow you to post content - links, photos, videos, etc that will go to the news feed stream in real-time.
It should be noted that users are getting more control over the news feeds they actually see. So if you want to see frequent updates from certain people, you can set that up. Plus "Thanks to updates to Facebook's privacy settings, users will now also be able to follow others without having to become actual 'friends,'" says Frederic Lardinois at ReadWriteWeb. "This is basically the same 'friendship' model that Twitter has implemented on its service."

Twitter is growing, but Facebook's popularity is far more widespread. One can't help but wonder how this will impact Twitter's use.

Another update on the way is the changing of pages (for celebrities and organizations) to profiles, which will give these famous people and companies more two-way interaction like they would get on Twitter, and ultimately more like regular Facebook users.
The blogosphere has been talking a lot about real-time search lately, particularly since Twitter announced the inclusion of Twitter Search on its main page. With Facebook's latest changes, that need is even more evident.

You've got to think about how many people (including celebrities) and companies are using Facebook and Twitter alone. People want to find real-time results for conversational searches from these networks and others.

It's not about replacing search as we know it. It's about adding to what we are already familiar with. I'd be incredibly surprised if Google doesn't get more involved with this part of the industry. In the meantime, people are creating scripts that integrate real-time search into Google results. A Twitter one surfaced last week, and I'm sure there will be some for Facebook popping up.
 

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