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.
OneRiot 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.
Collecta 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.
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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.
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.
48ers 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.
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.