Google announced Monday that it will now be streaming updates from social networking sites in real time as search results. When a term is typed into a Google search, the lead result will now be a section of constantly updating social network, news site, and blog postings pertinent to the topic.
This will allow users to get real-time results for the topic of their choice. Tips, news stories, and leads will now be right at the touch of the Google Search button, updating themselves every few seconds. This could be an invaluable tool for journalists as well as the general public.
Since Twitter and other social networking sites have entered the news scene, the way the general population gets its news has changed drastically. Twitter has now become an influential news source to many people; thus, it will only help in the spread of information to have tweets appear in Google search results.
This new innovation, though, will undoubtedly bring up the heated debate over citizen journalism. Twitter is undoubtedly a news source- but is it a reliable one? It is a good jumping off point, but is it more of a hindrance to journalism than a help? Or can it change the world of journalism with the right amount of added skepticism and vetting?
While Mercedes Bunz of the Media Guardian sees real-time Google as a useful device because it creates an archive of the present, she also raises many questions about the effects of the tool on journalism: "This leaves us, of course, with new problems and questions: What can be found? What is hidden? Who controls the archive of the present? Which economic investments are done and for what reasons? Which technological decisions push it in a certain direction?"
With this new archive of the past, it becomes much easier to get modern opinions, current statistics and data, and instant feedback; however, it also creates the opportunity for unintentional widespread fallacies and for data compiled without an overall picture or the benefit of reflection.
But the current state of a world with ubiquitous technology has created a demand for everything right now. The first time a story breaks on the Internet is now typically while it is still unfolding. Things are reported as they are occurring, rather than as a summary following their completion, like it used to be. After all, good things do not come to those who wait in the digital news world.
Google is a main player in the game of instant knowledge. Any question can be solved by Google; if it's not in the top search results, you probably don't need to know it. Now that Google has teamed up with social media, an instantaneous barrage of knowledge is open to anyone, at anytime.
Google developed this technology, no doubt, to compete more heavily with Microsoft's Bing, which has been gaining attention lately due to a proposed partnership with News Corp. Additionally, were a news organization to strike an exclusive deal with a search engine, it would most likely not be with Google due to the numerous accusations of theft and copyright infringement brought against the company because of its penchant for aggregation.
Just as the Internet is a promoter of news reportage, so too is it its antagonist.
Many other additions to the Google family were also announced during the recent event, which took place in at the Computer History Museum in San Jose, California.
Google Goggles, which is available to Android customers, allows users to take a picture of an object, name, or sign and get search results using the photo as the search term rather than by typing in words. It can identify landmarks, provide reviews for movies, or enter information into a Contacts section just by using the photograph.
On-the-go translation software was also announced. Users will be able to say a phrase into their phones and the program will instantly repeat back the phrase- translated into another language.
Other recent additions to Google's quest for total world domination include Google Wave, the new Google Chrome OS, the new Google News for mobiles, Google Translate on YouTube videos, and a new analytics program.
Posts to Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace will begin to appear on Google search results within the next couple of days.