social media toolsGoogle and Yahoo transformed how we find information. But now social media is creating real-time content that requires special search engines.

As online publishing platforms and social networks have exploded in popularity, there is a new need to aggregate and search the dynamic “real-time” web.

New platforms hold much promise for marketers who want to understand trends and customer problems in real time. In this article I review three of the top real-time search engines (in no particular order), and each has a unique profile that fits certain use cases particularly well.

#1: OneRiot

one riotOneRiot is the largest real-time web search engine today. It aggregates information about popular topics from Twitter and other social media sites.

OneRiot consolidates all these articles into one headline that you can click that leads you to a list of articles associated with a topic. This is a great way to see multiple articles on one topic all at once and in real time.

Instead of having to search different news sites looking for a hot topic, users can access OneRiot’s aggregated real-time information on the topic. Also, OneRiot does a good job of blending hot topics from different spheres. It has a balanced mix of entertainment news and hard news, but seems to concentrate more on entertainment news.

OneRiot has a bar on the right side of the page that breaks common topics into categories. If you’re looking for the latest news on trends or culture, politics or technology, you can easily find it.

Though OneRiot focuses on news organization sources and provides more reliable information, it lacks the personal touch from integrating commentary from individuals into the feed. This eliminates how the public is reacting to the news. OneRiot is great for lists of news articles related to the topic, but it’s important to get the public’s take on these articles as well.

The best way to use OneRiot for online marketing would be to use its search results about important topics. You could give your audience up-to-date information aggregated from multiple social networks. For instance, if you sell cars, linking to the OneRiot results page with the latest information about models you sell could be a great way to display feedback for people who own your cars.

By going to OneRiot, you can quickly see what the most frequently posted information is at the moment. Overall, OneRiot has the potential to be a great source for generating organic leads.

one riot

OneRiot’s real-time results display information about the first person to tweet a story, up-to-date news coverage and social media commentary on those news items.

#2: Collecta

collectaCollecta has more of a mainstream U.S. and international news focus, and does not offer the entertainment and lifestyle content that OneRiot integrates into its results. As a result, Collecta is a great source for people who want important news stories and like to view several sources to understand the breadth of angles on a topic.

The main page displays a general headline for each topic and then three suggested articles related to the topic. This makes it easy to read and gives it a professional, news-style approach. Also, Collecta does a great job of gathering recent social media updates from several sites such as WordPress, Digg and niche blogs; whereas OneRiot seems to pull most of its content from Twitter.


Collecta aggregates multiple sources and displays them based on recentness. There is the option to filter results based on the sources of data you want to include in the results.

Though Collecta does a good job at pulling information from multiple sources, its user interface makes it somewhat difficult to see the information it’s pulling from Twitter and other social media sites. The first suggested article on the homepage is usually an article related to a popular topic, but the next two subheadlines are the newsfeeds for the various social media sites discussing the topic.

The best way to use Collecta for online marketing would be to scan a variety of social media sites updated with the latest information on your business and industry within seconds. Collecta maintains a newsfeed that is updated by the second with several personal and professional social media accounts listed. This is a great way for marketers to research how the public is responding to a topic in real time.

#3: 48ers

48ers48ers focuses more on the collective reactions of individuals to news events in real time. The site is great if you’re searching for keywords and want to see what people are discussing about a certain topic. For example, during the eggs recall you could enter a search for “eggs” and see the discussion on all social media sites about eggs.

The tradeoff here is that if you aren’t aware of a particular topic, you don’t know to search for it to explore it further. Twitter and Google have both overcome this problem by adding trending results and searches. The main page of 48ers is set up almost like Google where you type in one word and review the results. The difference is that 48ers results are social media results, not news articles or irrelevant articles about eggs from last year.

This is a great source for viewing the most up-to-date information on a particular topic, but it isn’t great if you don’t know what everyone is already talking about. OneRiot and Collecta are superior to 48ers in this respect because they offer the functionality of 48ers while also offering suggested hot topics.


48ers has a more streamlined interface than either Collecta or OneRiot, but it also integrates multiple data sources and offers the ability to filter results based on source.

The best way to use this site for online marketing is to analyze a larger number of social media results on a particular topic and discover brand mentions or industry discussions. Results are being pulled by the second and you have a lot more content to work with compared to the suggested social media results from OneRiot and Collecta.

The Final Word

All three profiled real-time search engines offer benefits, and it’s not clear who will plug the holes in their service first and offer the most compelling real-time search offering.

These independent companies are also competing with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other larger companies that are offering some version of real-time search and actively seeking to improve them.

Have you used real-time search engines? Do you think they hold promise? Let me know your thoughts in the box below.

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  • James

    Personally I feel that there will ne a usefulness to them. But not enough to pull me away from the likes of google or yahoo


  • Thanks for this very clear breakdown, Peter. It makes it so much easier now to explore these sites. I can see that these search formats will probably become the norm in the future. Kinda fun to watch social media evolving all the time!

  • Yet again, you have shown me great value inside your posts. This is the reason why the Social Media Examiner is on my list of sites to watch and learn from – not a day goes by that I do nto find a post that teaches me something else.

    Keep up the fantastic work, and as far as generating organic information I trust the Social Media Examiner to keep me on track with my Social Media.


    Chris Kulbaba

  • Jim Bensimon

    This is very useful information. the real question will be how quickly the big boys like Google, Yahoo and Facebook catch up to create the best and most efficient Social Media Search Engines.

  • Thanks a million Chris!

  • Peter


    I think you’re seeing a very “Version 1.0” level of functionality in these services as they take them to market. I think once a leader in this space draws down a significant funding round, you’ll see them bring on engineering bandwidth to make these offerings more compelling.

    Thanks for commenting,


  • Darlene,

    Indeed, it is exciting to see the potential these tools have, and as I stated in my comment to James, I think we’re only seeing the beginning of what these tools have to offer. Search is certainly becoming more real-time, and Google and Bing have moved to integrate real time results into the main search feed. As these real-time upstarts grow, I could certainly see one of them making an acquisition target for Google or Microsoft.

    Thanks for your comment,


  • LIkewise, Chris! Thanks for all the kind words,


  • Awebb

    I love Collecta…I’m also pretty addicted to Kurrently…

  • Jim,

    Couldn’t agree more. I think these independent real-time search engines will add features and improve their functionality, but they should expect challenges from the big boys soon. One of the reasons there is room for real-time specific search engines is because the search functionality is so poor on both Twitter and Facebook. If either company creates a more compelling search experience internally, the need for these tools might diminish. On the other hand, these companies might decide shelling out for one of the real-time only guys is a better use of their funds.

    It will be interesting to watch! Thanks for your comment,


  • Being “social creatures,” I’m sure people will find numerous ways to use real-time search engines. To me though, it seems like these will be quite useful in times of emergencies, natural disasters, sporting events, and other times when people either NEED to… or WANT to be immediately connected to unfolding events.

  • Cool, I’ll have to check those out.

  • Gabriel,

    Great point. As you can see by some of the examples, the real time search engines really thrive when aggregating information about big news items. Though the functionality is useful for other things, real time search really gets interesting when a lot of people start talking about a big event.

    Thanks for commenting!


  • Tim Barnes, CLU

    As a health insurance agent I have followed the news about health care very closely. There has been so much misinformation from people on both sides that it has been hard to tell truth from exaggeration. It has made me a little jaded about news journalism. Although political news is a very, very important and popular topic deserving its own search engine, in my opinion, professionals only need it to see what the public opinion is, We need facts and not opinions. I may have to weed through a huge amount of garbage but eventually I can find what I need on Google.

  • Nick Robinson

    I have a feeling that Google will be unveiling a more robust real time search service very soon. With the groundbreaking instant search that was implemented last week, there is no doubt that Google will come out on top when it comes to aggregating all real-time activity. Their proprietary algorithm is their core competency, and they should use it in order to keep its market share of search as online activity of consumers becomes increasingly social.

  • Tim,

    Interesting perspective. Perhaps a specific search on one of these networks could return some compelling facts shared by knowledgeable users, though some portion of the messages certainly would be opinions.

    Thanks for the comment!


  • Nick,

    I agree the Google Instant is a very exciting development, but I don’t think it makes Google better at real-time. Google can aggregate some portion of real-time, but its algorithm still gives some advantage to cached static content that has garnered inbound links and has domain authority. While I think Google’s tremendous resources can’t be discounted here, I think they are more inclined to buy whichever company shows the most promise here over the next 12-24 months.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking comment,


  • marilync

    Great posts and most helpful. I love Social Media Examiner. You guys rock! (Not in any way shape or form affiliated w/SME)

  • Thanks Marilyn!

  • Nick Robinson

    You are very correct with your statement, considering the past two months have been a buying spree in regards to social gaming. Funny enough, right after I read this article today, I checked, and Google just bought a 3-D imaging company for $12 million in order to enhance it’s Maps and Geo-location services.

    Thanks for the response Peter.

  • Nixon Lee

    Peter Thanks for the insights! Great post

  • No problem, Nixon. Thanks for your comment.

  • The kudos are much appreciated

  • Great website and beautiful comments—but now I want to share my views over—
    SEO services today range from providing onsite optimization like LSI indexing and creating a sticky website to offsite optimization like setting up link directories and getting high page rank links. Ultimately we all need to remember that this is just another marketing technique to help your company boost its sales which will translate to better profits.
    So before you set out to get SEO services make sure your company has a definite and tangible goal in mind that you wish to achieve using SEO services and the success criterion for this goal. Once you have done that it becomes easier for you and the company providing SEO services to you to measure the success of the campaign.

  • Thanks for this post. Some great tools that will make my searching time a little more efficient hopefully. Keep ’em coming!

  • Kashanna

    One Riot seems to be a great social media tool which can gather all information from many different sites and combine them to one story. This is a great tool to use instead of going from site to site to gather all information in order for it to make sense.

    This site will now be competeing with other sites to keep up with the technology now used by One Riot.

  • Peter,
    Would recommend Topsy as another realtime search engine,
    Topsy actually took over OneRiot’s realtime search api clients a couple weeks ago and is by far the largest and fasted growing realtime search engine.
    Do a comparison here

  • Pingback: Online Marketing Strategy: Social Search Changes the Game for Marketers()

  • Medical insurance is a most helpful for everybody . life insurance gives the our life a protected life priority for a long time . It is great tool for the better medical insurance quote settlement.

  • cyhex

    most of the above mentioned search engines are not a proper real time or no longer working.
    However there is a newcomer worth taking a look at ,
    The deference between streamcrab and the rest of so called realtime search engines is that it actually delivers the results in real time and it is not a a bunch of Twitter posts.
    Perhaps it is also worth to mention that it is capable of searching and indexing real time results from Facebook, Dig, News and Blogs.


  • The patent filing explores “recency-sensitive” queries, where searchers are looking for resources that are both topically relevant as well as fresh, such as novel information about an earthquake. If you’ve been watching twitter streams, Facebook updates, and other social media, you’ve seen that sometimes these sources are the best and fastest places on the Web to find that kind of information.
    It’s possible that a search engine that ignores sources like those isn’t going to be able to return any relevant results for those types of queries – what the patent’s inventors
     call a “zero recall” problem.