Google Is Getting Real With Realtime

Google added a Realtime search option in the left-hand sidebar a while ago. Click on Realtime, and your search result will show updates on the topic in, well, realtime. It’s actually kind of nifty – new results scroll up automatically and you can adjust the timeframe of the updates using the graph in the right sidebar.

While the tool has always been cool, the results have been, well, kind of meh, given that the only source for the realtime data was Twitter.

But now, Google Realtime has gotten a lot cooler. It is now including updates from Quora and Gowalla, as well as Facebook and Google Buzz.  The more realtime services added to the Google mix, the better the overall result, in my book. Chances are, you will get a wider variety of content, assuming that not everyone tweets everything of interest on a given subject. Quora, for example, seems to attract a different type of user and a different calibre of answer.

As any good researcher will tell you, the more diverse the sources you tap for your search, the more global the overall result. Thanks Google, for making realtime a heck of a lot more relevant and useful for me.

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Time To Primp Your Google Profile

Yes, I said “primp.” Last week, Google updated its Profiles with a vastly improved appearance. Go ahead, compare it to Facebook profile pages, everyone else is. That said, I greatly prefer the streamlined look of Google Profiles and the lack of ads (at this time anyway) on the page.

Google Profiles launched two years ago, but was pretty rudimentary in look and use. I primarily filled out my profile so that I could add all of my connected social services in one place and, well, you might as well fill out a profile if one is available to increase your visibility in the Great Google Search World.

But now, with the changes, you can really mod your profile out, with pictures, more descriptions and a nicer look. Plus, the profile page is fitted out with two tabs: About Me and Buzz. Now, you can quickly tab over to see that person’s Buzz content, which is a welcome boost for the somewhat quiet social service. In the Buzz tab, you can then select posts, comments or likes to see the information you have interacted with and how you have interacted with it. It is a cleaner interface than Google Reader, and I can see myself going to the Profile page to quickly access my likes, for later reference.

Here is my updated Profile’s About page:

Do you have a Google Profile? Hit the link here to update it with the new editing features. Do you not yet have one? Hit that same link and fill one out. When Google gets around to really pulling its social act together, you will be glad you did.

UPDATE: I just saw this article over at the Google Operating System Blog – if you use unedited pictures for your profile but use the online editor, visitors can still access the entire photo. If this is a problem for you, consider editing your images on your computer before uploading. Thanks for the tip, Alex!

Twitter Developers Making Lemonade

What do you do when you are a plate-maker and the bread and butter start making their own plates? Become a cup-maker, of course!

Possibly the two biggest Twitter developers out there, Seesmic and Tweetdeck, saw the writing on the cupboard wall a few weeks back when Twitter bought out premier iPhone Twitter client, Tweetie. And, with yesterday’s roll-out of the newly branded Twitter for iPhone, and release of the Google Buzz API, S and T have shifted their focus a bit by now offering the controversial soc net upstart Buzz, from Google, within their applications. Plancast and Boxee have done the same, with the Meebo Bar and Socialwork to follow suit.

Apparently out of the privacy limelight these days, affiliation with Buzz is not such a bad thing. Seesmic (link here) already has its new tool available, with a dedicated Buzz column in which you can read, write, search and like. The Tweetdeck version is on its way. Buzz will share window-space with Twitter and Facebook in these applications, shifting focus away from Twitter and spreading it out over the three networks.

Whether or not you like Buzz (I am still unsure about it), it still represents a sizeable forum for engagement. By offering all three networks in one space, Seesmic and Tweetdeck reaffirm their validity in a changing Twitter-governed world and permit us users to streamline networking across platforms.

Hat tip to Jennifer Van Grove over at Mashable! for the story.

Chart Love: Compare Twitter/Facebook/Buzz

Those crazy Lifehacker guys are so good at taking complex information and organizing it! Take, for example, which social network to spend your valuable time in – apparently, there’s a chart for that. In their post “Which Social Network Is Right For You?” (link here), Kevin Purdy breaks down some of the features of Twitter, Facebook and Buzz and compares them, complete with color coding.  “Comprehensive” would be an understatement. Here is the chart from his article (you may need to CTRL + to zoom a bit for the text, or hit link above to original post to get a full-res image). Bear in mind that “green” is good – feature available, “yellow” is feature may be available but difficult to implement and “red” is you can’t find it here:

In a nutshell, Facebook’s plus is that it is relatively easy to identify friends, while the drawback is the convoluted privacy and other settings and issues surrounding same. Twitter also is a favorite based on its simplicity and ease of use. Downside is reliance on confusing array of third party applications and the noisy firehose of a substantial follow list, unless list controls are employed. Lifehacker’s jury is still out on Buzz mostly because it is too new and is undergoing some sizeable changes as it progresses. But it is agreed that, despite its flaws with respect to integration and privacy, Buzz represents its own animal (albeit with a strong resemblance to Friendfeed) and deserves attention.

I pretty much agree with their analysis of the sites. Pay attention to the ability to send feeds elsewhere (RSS), remote posting and notice options if you don’t plan to regularly reside on the sites themselves.

Buzz Your Blog With A Buzz Button

Why be the last one to the party? You too can install your own Google “Buzz This” button on your WordPress self-hosted blog and get a little sharing button at the bottom of each post.  Check mine out at the botton of this post. Essentially, the button is a simple link that ports the article share into Reader, which in turn shares into Buzz. Whatever the process, the button looks pretty cool and you can style yourself bleeding edge since Buzz only just debuted yesterday. Hit the jump (link here) to copy and paste or download and install.

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