Is Search Changing ?

It recently dawned on me that I do far more searches away from Google than I do on Google.  I’m not talking about a factor of  2 to 1 or 3 to 1. My off Google searches out number Google searches by at least 10 to 1 on a daily or weekly basis .

How can that be ?

It’s because Google is late on everything. The latency on Google information relative to searches on Twitter (or hosts to the Twitter Firehose), Instagram, Tumbler, Pinterest, Facebook (although declining because they changed the search of public pages to hash tags), is long and important.  Just a few short pre twitter, pre app years ago we could depend on the fact that if the information was important to even a small segment of the population someone would put it on a website and it would be indexed by Google and made available quickly if not in near real-time. That is no longer the case.

When was the last time any of us updated a real website with current information ? We say what we want to say on our social networks or on twitter. I know the amount of posts I make on this blog has dropped considerably because its far easier to present my thoughts elsewhere.  If Google isn’t indexing what is said on twitter/facebook/pinterest/tumbler/instagram/SnapChat /all the topic&affinity  apps (your favorite team/band/etc)  and elsewhere, aren’t they missing most of the information that is being communicated in the world ?

If  I want to know if anything note worthy happened in an NBA game, the last place i would search is Google. I would search twitter first.  If i want to know if anything interesting happened at an event, the last place I would search is Google. I would search Instagram.   The list goes on.

Thats not to say I don’t use Google. I use Google to keep up with with my interest in what is happening with the Securities and Exchange Commission and their efforts.  If I want information about a company and their products, I will use Google. If i want to look up product information , I will use Google and the other sources as well to get the most relevant information. Google is still an important part of our lives.

I’m not saying that Google is going anywhere soon. It is and will be dominant for at least the next few years.  What I am saying is that I place a significant value on recency for many of my business and personal related searches.  Google does a very poor job of indexing and presenting real-time , near-time or even recent information. Which in turn begs the question of whether this lack of recency will impact our ability to trust Google or other search engine results ? Or will we just learn where to use Google and where not to use it ? 

Let me know what you think



107 thoughts on “Is Search Changing ?

  1. What is also interesting is that amazon claims they are now the 3rd largest search engine. “If it’s not on, it does not exist.”

    Comment by Wendi and Andy Held (@TrueHeroEvents) -

  2. I’ll stay with the horse and buggy for awhile because I personally don’t like nor need the noise, foul air, and anxiety associated with those faster automobiles in order to be happier. However, I’m aware that the popularity of the auto most likely will bring forth the demise of my beloved horse and buggy so I investigate this new technology so that I will have a replacement handy. Any enhancement would just be a bonus.

    Comment by Vicente Chung -

  3. Reblogged this on Noodleonit’s Weblog and commented:
    Google Now- some say negates this. Much to noodle on here.

    Comment by NoodleOnIt -

  4. Very interesting observation. I noticed that I started looking at twitter/instagram instead of Google as well. They are trying to enter the market with Google plus but unsuccessful thus far.

    It would be honor to hear your feedback on a business (online marketplace) I started which is unavailable anywhere else. My email is I know you are very busy but it would mean a lot to get your opinion.


    Comment by Shawn Porat -

  5. The next logical question for me is how will companies like Twitter and FB better monetize these real-time searches that they’ve stolen away from Google? Both companies seem to be focused on capturing television dollars from major brand advertisers and not focused on monetizing search – are they overlooking a valuable revenue stream or do they know something we don’t know?

    Comment by Jono Springs -

  6. Interesting post as usual. I would love to know the stats on where people are searching. I still believe google far and away the leader but the idea of timelier search results elsewhere could move the needle away…

    Comment by edpalermo13 -

  7. Pingback: How to Use Social Media Platforms (As a Business) |

  8. Yep, its the rise of the HUMAN algorithm, Social Media….people are actually faster than GOOGLE’s Indexing.

    Comment by Matthew L. De Fede -

  9. Mark:

    Let me know what you think?

    I thought you might have learned a thing or 2 from your experience at At least about technology. Then again when our team became involved to rebuild Broadcast before the sale, messed up IP, gangs of staff sitting in a room switching feeds during NFL commercials. Those were the days Mark.

    What do I think?

    First you have all the wan-ta be SEO gang making comments about you opinion of Google.

    Google is not late on anything, feeds are aggregated from real sources, not your thousands of friends on Facebook and Twitter having nothing of real importance other then to be heard on-line.

    Google does index feeds from both these Social Media sites. Then again if you have a feed in Facebook you might appear in organic search results.

    Most do not.

    When was the last time any of us updated a real website with current information ?
    Be sure Mark in todays world of SEO and Social Media feeding your Social Connections creates invaluable clean back links. Under your thinking of not updating your web sites content means that the value of your main web site is less important then feeding Pinterest.

    Wrong Answer.

    Comment by Antigua Guatemala -

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  20. “If I want to know if anything note worthy happened in an NBA game, the last place i would search is Google.”

    I don’t have to search Google for sports scores and such because Google Now knows my favorite teams and tells me without me even asking. Search is in fact changing but I don’t think it’s changing in the way that you think it is.

    Comment by Jerry Stevens -

  21. Terrific perspective, Mark. Curious on your thoughts about facebook’s partnership in providing results to Bing and Yandex?

    Comment by Justin Seibert (@domjbs) -

  22. This exact problem is why I work on findingfarm from time to time. It uses near real-time search to organize content into topics. Example:

    Comment by finding farm (@findingfarm) -

  23. Pingback: Is Mark Cuban Right About Search Changing & Google? | Windsor Web Design

  24. Agreed- I’m doing a lot less Google searches too. Now if I can just limit my daily use of Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Docs and YouTube…

    Comment by Chad Lehrman (@ChadLehrman) -

  25. I agree we use different things to search on as social media takes shape. Like A.J. said above Google Now on the phone would replace any of the searches you would use. It knows where I am at. It knows my favorite sports teams. In some ways it is like Santa Claus and knows when I am sleeping or awake.

    Comment by Vinny O'Hare -

  26. A few random comments here… 1)Google doesn’t get data from Twitter, only Bing does. Same for Facebook, Quora, etc. You can learn more about that here. 2) Mark, you’re on to something here. Google/Bing in general are starting to become the card catalog/library of digitally published material. If you want immediacy… both Bing and Google have an inherent latency in that they either have to “scrape” the information from a website somewhere… or they aggregate feeds from various sources to surface in special “channels” (think /News or… /weather etc.). The volume of content and the speed at which it is now published (via twitter, instagram, facebook, etc.) is VERY difficult to keep up with. “Search” as we know it has already started to evolve like you suggest. The question becomes… when there are less “searches” there will be less ADS clicked. That has the folks in Mountain View quaking in their boots… interesting times we’re headed into.

    Comment by billbledsoe (@billbledsoe) -

  27. It depends on what you’re searching for. If I am looking for “good local restaurants” or local services I would likely turn to Facebook or Twitter because I value the opinion of friends more than I would Google.

    The problem I have with Google is that with the ever changing algorithms a site can fall off the rankings overnight despite “SEO Guidelines” being followed. To Mark’s point about Google not indexing sites, I can usually find more recent and often more relevant content on Social Media.

    Comment by Dan Ekenberg -

  28. It’s not clear to me that searches on Instagram or Twitter are better candidates for monetization than classic Google searches are. Time spent may not translate into value. Google could lose a lot of share of views but still keep the lion;s share of revenue.

    Comment by Alan Miles -

  29. Couldn’t agree more Mark. Google allows the ability to access information where social gives it context. As for everyone mumblings about trusting social media… why do you trust the web as is?

    Comment by Matt Stevenson -

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  32. Mark – thanks for your thoughts, You’ve got some great insight as a savvy investor and technologist. I challenge you on a few key points.

    Specifically sports scoring. Google’s new semantic search algorithm does so much more than index results. Sure It does thing like aggregate and curate sports scores (flight info, movie times, etc) for Google users.

    Also what about data integrity? Do you feel that the information that is being passed around via social networks is more reliable than that of a trusted & secure domain?

    On the other hand your insight into your own usage is pretty telling, and I think worth looking into more.

    Comment by Patrick Coombe -

  33. I see search and social begin to overlap. To a certain extent this is already happening. Social services, like Twitter or Facebook, have search built in. Search engines, like Google or Bing, might already be using real-time social data to affect search results and if they are not I would be very surprised if they are not seriously investigating ways to leverage this information.

    How may this manifest itself? Google may use tweets as another signal in their algorithm. So in addition to using page-rank and your search terms they may also use the current tweets to determine what search result you get and in what order. In other words, search engines may use social media to improve their search results but not necessarily become a giant ‘Facebook Wall’.

    Comment by Przemek Lach -

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  35. Mark,
    We have built a real-time search engine called Tilofy that organizes world’s real-time information, as they unfold, around time and location. Our team has prior work experience at major search giants such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Samsung.Would love to demo you the product. See and email me at if interested.

    Comment by Ali Khoshgozaran -

  36. When is the last time anyone updated a real website with current information? Yesterday, actually — although you need to take into account that not everyone has data that has to be out there RIGHT NOW! I think you need to be aware that there are still companies (especially in the manufacturing sector) who operate over time. No one is looking for an app to know if the machine we’re building for them is at this point or that point — it takes 3-6 months depending on complexity and our customers know that.

    The same goes for our search needs. As long as sites ARE maintained in the face of any major change, I can generally find what I need, although I do use industry directories.

    The danger in trying (or wanting) to be ahead of the curve (abandoning Google, for instance) is that not everyone else is out there with you and you may in fact miss important parts of your intended audience by assuming that they’re doing things your way.

    Comment by Janet Lingel Aldrich -

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  38. Mark,
    We have built a real-time search engine called Tilofy that organizes world’s real-time information, as they unfold, around time and location. Our team has prior work experience at major search giants such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Samsung.Would love to demo you the product. See and email me at if interested.

    Comment by Ali Khoshgozaran -

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  40. I disagree but with some caveats.

    First, why are you searching for something like whether your favorite basketball team is winning? If you’ve got Google Now it’s going to tell YOU instead of you having to even go off and perform a search. Predictive search is where Google is going and what people are going to crave.

    Second, real-time search has been tried and has failed. Every company that tried failed including One Riot, Collecta, CrowdEye and even Topsy who recently was put out of its misery by being purchased by Apple.

    The plain fact of the matter is that the majority of queries don’t have such a high degree of time sensitivity. You might, but using yourself as the target market is usually a bad idea. Any attempt at real-time search has shown that it functions a lot like the crawl at the bottom of CNN.

    For those times that there are real-time needs such a disasters or presidential debates or Walking Dead live commentary, well then Twitter is the place to be no doubt about it.

    Comment by AJ Kohn -

  41. You’re exactly right, but Google have known this for years, hence why they’ve expanded and are now so so much more than a search engine.

    Comment by Nilan Jethwa -

  42. Obviously search as an activity on the internet is so profound, it’s probably just going to grow as the internet continues to evolve.

    What people should watch for is the monetization behind it. Google is so dominant in online advertising, that they have taken over a large part of the internet ‘economically’. Their adwords product is societally transformative, it is so profound and effective.

    I believe that the future of the monetization of the internet will go beyond Google’s expertise, more into media company hands (even small ones). It will change the economics of the web, and some of its behavioral characteristics with people spending more time on content because there will be more available. Infinite amounts. Branding, locally targeted direct advertising, online infomercials for direct sellers… Less search for the individual, but more aggregated audiences will be online so net net google wins again…SURPRISE!

    It will be a good thing, because publishers are still unable to incentivize themselves effectively with search and contextual ads. I think there will be a period where publishing becomes a secondary activity to other businesses, where businesses take over publishing, and use traffic to promote themselves and also sell to advertisers. A reduction in middlemen will follow, as businesses ‘become’ publishers rather than advertisers. Then publishing will make sense.

    There needs to be more performance video syndication, and the natural evolution of video will be into a direct response tool. It will be locally targetable. Remember those funny local business car sales commercials, beware they will be huge in the future.

    Ironically I believe as the internet grows away from Google, they will still continue to grow! We are in the early innings of a technological revolution more profound than the industrial revolution, because it is allowing others to industrialize. We produce information tech, it gets easier for African factories or call centers to do business. It’s wild.

    Google is the search equivalent to Lance Armstrong (sans the steroid use), as long as people are searching they will be the #1 solution. What I think is more interesting;is going to be how non -google companies will emerge as viable competitors in the video space, and subsequently bring new advertising products to the market.

    Anindya Ghosh

    President, Managing Partner FCI Media Network

    11287 Washington Blvd. Suite 1/4

    Culver City, CA 90230 p: (866) 414-6164 x101

    d: (323) 285-5430

    f: (866) 599-2581


    AIM: aghosh79

    Comment by anindyaghosh -

  43. Mark, we are working on a social search engine and would love to talk to you about an investment. If you are interested, please contact me at

    Comment by Arjan de Raaf -

  44. I completely agree. I stated using other search engines a year or so ago because when I searched google for specific answers to technical questions I had – It would always give me results with answers from a year a go (I guess cause the back links we heavy or something). I don’t want answers from a year ago I want to see the latest information first and then let me drill down through that maze. Completely frustrating I seriously think over the past year I have only use to search less than a dozen times.

    Comment by Amino Mate -

  45. Mark, I just read an interesting article on CNET “Twitter beware — Instagram’s the hot property”. You may relate to this. Instagram or Twitter users (who often are the same people-younger, urban dwellers, mobile users) go at least once a day visit these apps, and a good number of them return multiple times during the day. If you like to hang out somewhere, and you suddenly want to do a seach about something, there’s a good chance that you’re going to do it INSIDE the app you love so much, specially if you’re a mobile device. Then you’ll get hooked on the kinds of results you get from that perticular app. And interestingly, Instagram seem to be edging Twitter out. Do you use Instagram to do your searches?

    Comment by Alex Vachon -

  46. I wouldn’t so much say that the landscape of searching is changing so much as I would say that the way we are consuming information is changing. When google and altavista and yahoo! were all first getting into this search and information space the need to have data RIGHT now was not as important to the general populace. Sure people always want the latest information but not the way they do now.

    Now we not only get our information near real-time we also dismiss it just as quickly. Due to the ease by which we can look information back up we tend to digest news a lot differently. It runs through us like cheap mexican food. We read it, we absorb a few tidbits that will make great small talk later and then we move on. I personally think that this causes a large issue. People don’t think about the things they are reading and may even make snap judgments about how they feel about the content of the news.

    None the less I agree that we are getting our information from multiple places and I am extremely happy for it. Having one place that you consider to be the canonical source of data is always a bad thing. With great power comes great responsibility and I don’t really know that there is anyone that is ready for that kind of power.

    Comment by Paul J. Warner -

  47. I’m a huge fan of both search and social but what you get in immediacy from the likes of twitter you lose in credibility because there are so many fake accounts and bogus stories floating around. Whereas if I search on Google and see 3 articles from credible sources or a good quora thread I’m sold.

    Comment by seanfee -

  48. I found this to be true for myself as well. I believe that this is due, in large part, to the worlds shift to mobile. Many of the sources Mark mentions have mobile apps (content not captured by a Google search). When people share a moment or capture something special they no longer have to wait to get in front of their computer. Fact is, when people share they want the people they share it with to be a part of their experience, not just hear about it. Its amazing how much of the “magic” can be lost in a matter of minutes.

    Comment by Brock Deniston -

  49. Case in point: I stumbled upon someone’s post on LinkedIn about how to reach high net income individuals with video (it will be the topic of a talk I’m going to give this Wednesday in Manhattan), but lost the thread after leaving my computer for a few hours. I looked for it on Google, no trace of it. I looked for it on Twitter and bingo – and I’m really glad I found it there!

    Comment by Alex Vachon -

  50. Are you searching or

    They’re 2 different searches for 2 different purposes.

    Pro Tip: if you’re a student, use

    Try searching for “beer” on each of the above and look at how the results vary.

    Comment by Matthew Skoda -

  51. At first, I thought when you stated “away from Google,” you meant like through your phone’s push to talk, through wikipedia, through your internet browser input bar, etc. I certainly use those more often today, but most of the time, because I use Chrome as my main internet browser, Google ends up being my main source of search anyway. Personally, I don’t find Twitter interesting enough to use often, and when I do, I dislike the minute-ness of each post. Being capped at 140 characters, I find it very tiring to scour through tweets just to get enough information as an article. I understand time is a huge factor, but I feel that daily newspapers and articles which Google links to are good enough. I suppose it’s based on how important recency of information is for you. For example, I still find the Wallstreet Journal to be a great source of information, and for my purposes, it’s good enough. However, for some high frequency traders, I’m sure that day late information is worthless. Similarly between Twitter and Google.

    Comment by Xun Liu -

  52. I think you pretty much answered your own question. Google offers extensive information. While social media offers quicker information. The question is if either of these two are going to start impeding more and more on the others niche.

    Comment by davemargolies -

  53. The dilemma is how do you rate the quality, authenticity & relevance of content tweets from Twitter/other social networks when that content has a short lifetime and the only thing connecting it to being authentic is the tweeting account.

    On the other hand, Google is like a well aged wine Library. If you ever need to find something relevant you know you will find it via Google because of their sophisticated algorithms that guarantee quality. No social network search is capable of this at the level of Google yet.

    Now putting in a Social Tap into Google has already been trialled and I am sure they reached the same conclusions. Putting it back in is easy for a well established infrastructure like Google’s. So Google will not become irrelevant. It is only a matter of time until they crack the best way to qualify live data from external sources into their feeds.

    On another note, I see more spam from social networks. Everyone wants to take advantage of eye balls with spammy regurgitated & rehashed articles. Something Google would rate very low. Hence the target is the less advanced search/feed algorithms of social networks. Facebook has recently caught onto this and started changing their feed algorithm so I see less of those regurgitated & rehashed articles with clever titles but worthless content from attracting my attention.

    Comment by Ernest Semerda -

  54. Valid point. I agree with what some others have already stated. Google has their own platform which in a way is supposed to take charge of all the real time social updates, namely Google Plus. Everyone always seems to joke about how only Google employees seem to use G+ regularly, but because Google makes their own algorithm for search, they certainly incorporate it and allow it to effect page ranks and search results. It would be naive to think that Google is avoiding the ‘real time’ market altogether and isn’t competing with Twitter on any level, but I agree that the social platforms we use on a daily basis can be much more useful in getting information quickly.
    But the best Shark Tank content is found at!

    Comment by businessshark2 -

  55. Search changing? Well yes… everything eventually changes, morphs into something better, something more relevant and more reflective of capability. The draw to social as we all know, is not only the immediacy of information flow but there’s something bigger/better than the information itself and that’s the reaction to it. That’s what’s missing from traditional search and where the opportunity is for disruption. We’re working on that here at 🙂

    Comment by Carl Norloff -

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  57. I’m with ya Cuban. I’ve been moving more and more towards searching on Twitter. I trade stocks for a living and if a stock is doing something I can’t explain, I turn to twitter and search $SYMBOL and sure enough if there is “something” happening it will be there. If I’m traveling and I want to know in real time if anything is going on… you guessed it… Twitter.

    I think the only way for Google to change this is to add Twitter to their search results. Twitter could make some serious coin on this deal.

    Comment by Rick Piedade -

  58. Pingback: Is Search Changing - IzzyPreneur

  59. Reblogged this on IzzyPreneur and commented:
    Right on Mark. Google should stop competing with social media as they have been unsuccessful with it, and it doesn’t seem they make it anytime soon… If you cant fight them, join them. When searching for current events they should collaborate all the info from twitter/facebook/pinterest/tumbler/instagram/SnapChat /all the topic&affinity apps and give you real time info on whats happening. Is that so hard for them to do? I don’t think so. But their ego to compete in the social media space has blinded them from doing so, and that’s the reason why they lost most if not all real time searches.

    Comment by Izzy Green -

  60. Right on Mark. Google should stop competing with social media as they have been unsuccessful with it, and it doesn’t seem they make it anytime soon… If you cant fight them, join them. When searching for current events they should collaborate all the info from twitter/facebook/pinterest/tumbler/instagram/SnapChat /all the topic&affinity apps and give you real time info on whats happening. Is that so hard for them to do? I don’t think so. But their ego to compete in the social media space has blinded them from doing so, and that’s the reason why they lost most if not all real time searches.

    Comment by Izzy Green -

  61. How do you search Instagram hashtags? Amazing that Instagram doesn’t even seem to have that feature.

    Comment by Ryan Schwebel -

  62. This is an example of search engine load. An engines algorithms may become ‘bogged down’ with additional advances of needs. Once this threshold is met, optimization is necessary in order to decrease the search time.

    Comment by Chuck Tinker -

  63. Has anyone noticed the “Trending” section on Facebook now? As a matter of fact the top trending article was about Mr. Cuban being fined 100k for confronting refs and man somebody needs to! But to get back on topic I think this is a step in the right direction for Facebook after the recent changes.

    I have to agree with Mark about Google as an avid user myself I agree they are very slow to update their serps with the most relevant content.

    I can do a search for something and find post’s or articles from years past that are pretty much obsolete but if I use some of the other search functions listed including YouTube I might add I can find better answers or resources.

    Will be curious to see if Google changes it up based on the fact they make the most money when people use their search function.

    Comment by Roger Shoemaker -

  64. Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

    Comment by Dan W -

  65. Hi Mark,

    I disagree. I think Google is actually competing very well with real-time search. I often use Google to get quick updates on game scores. Search is changing, due largely to immediacy and mobile, but I think Google is still ahead of the game and leveraging their data advantage to do so. I think any new entrant needs to take an approach that does not rely on brute force web crawling. Topic-based niche search is also a huge opportunity, and perhaps where Google is most vulnerable, but even then, Google can provide the infrastructure for these niches. To wit: Google custom site search is still, in my opinion, the best tool on the market by far.

    Comment by Simit Patel -

  66. Mark,

    Love your blog. I just watched a video of yours where you spoke about loving digital currency. Can you tell me your thoughts on bitcoin? Is crypto currency the future?



    On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 5:13 PM, blog maverick

    Comment by Kenny Gardner -

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  68. Mark, I think a new .com is in order. A centralized search engine that only searches social media sites. You could enable users to filter out what they really want to search(specific social media sites, hashtags, etc). Say you search for the word “hotdog”, well on this search engine you could choose what social media sites you want your queries from, and if you want to include hashtag results as well. Of course this would be a “free” service, just as google is, however advertising money can be generated by paid advertisements linking to facebook and things.. In the search above, maybe the ballpark hotdog brand has a facebook page and they would like to show up in the advertisement section, at the top. Basically, the google search engine business model could be followed pretty closely, and if it does pick up steam… Get ready for the bing/google bidding to start. Either way, it’s Saturday night and I hope your enjoying your weekend.

    Comment by Jeffrey Rudisill -

  69. Reblogged this on Our Roaring 20's and commented:
    This week has been dedicated to learning about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), this article caught my interest by claiming that Google is the last place consumers go to for news…do you agree? Is Facebook or Twitter your first stop for pertinent information?

    Comment by kassieinfante -

  70. The point you make about recency is very true, I think. I’ve found that in order to get the best results on Google, I have to use some of they’re not-so-advertised and not-so-easily-remembered “search tricks.” I think by default, they should incorporate relevancy into their search results. And a dynamic component of relevancy is how current something is, right? Otherwise, I think Google is pretty awesome and pretty standard in most people’s lives. I see people at work going out of their way to change their computer’s default search engine from Bing back to Google all the time. Google is like Facebook for people. I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

    Comment by Anthony Leonard -

  71. I finally learned, at about 70, that I didn’t need to remain caught up in “immediacy”, and that the pace of my life in my youth had many things to recommend it. I like to be reasonably current, but I appreciate more the slower pace of life at which I grew up. While I appreciate the fact that you are far richer by about three orders of magnitude than I, and have accomplished much more than I, it is not necessary to me that I live in a style that says yesterday is ancient history, as opposed to simply being history.

    All of which is by way of saying that twitter, et. al., strike me as being more a state of currency than a state of necessity.

    But I do wish you would buy the Rangers and finish the restoration project that Nolan Ryan started, even to the point of bringing him back to the presidency of the team.

    And please, continue to post your thoughts on blog maverick. I find them (your opinions / thoughts) to be most interesting, much more so than most opinions, but I’ll never see them on twitter, etc.

    Have a great day! Don Reed 843-301-7333


    Comment by Don Reed -

  72. Google used to search Twitter in real time and those guys ain’t dumb– I’m sure they’ll be turning that capability back on some time soon and will once again be the best aggregator of everything.

    Comment by Mark B. Spiegel -

  73. It depends on what you think is important, or I should say what you value as being important. I don’t need twitter, facebook or instagram. I don’t give a fuck.

    Comment by blaccard -

  74. Mark, I am lucky enough to be a librarian/information specialist and one my most important responsibilities is teaching high school students (and their teachers) which resources they should use when searching for information. Your “real time” quest is very important, but there are many other factors that go into the decision of whether to use Google or social media or databases or other information sources, including e and print books! Even though immediacy is not usually needed in high school research, it can be factor. I feel so much gratification when students use the variety of websites/databases that I demonstrate. As an educator I strive to help students become life-long learners. Google will help, but it is certainly not all they need or use.
    Thanks for a post which both states what might be obvious and also gives valuable, timely advice. I hope my students read your blog, after all they are huge fans of yours and of Shark Tank!

    Comment by Shari Danzig Stein -

  75. “Just a few short pre twitter, pre app years ago we could depend on the fact that if the information was important to even a small segment of the population someone would put it on a website and it would be indexed by Google and made available quickly if not in near real-time. That is no longer the case.”

    This just isn’t true.; Google indexes content found on webpages much more quickly now than it ever did, in the days before Twitter, in these post Peculator/Caffeine days. Back in 2005, I remember Google taking 8 minutes to index content from my blog. These days, it’s often less than a minute for new posts to be indexed. Content posted to sites that are very frequently updated which have very high PageRank, like the New York Times home page enter Google’s index extremely frequently. It’s just not the realtime results (or near real time) that Google started returning in 2009 until 2011 or so.

    Comment by Bill Slawski -

  76. Why search Google Yahoo and Bing when you can search Facebook, Instgram, Pinterest, Twitter, ETC. :0-bi0tic

    Comment by mktg4thefuture -

  77. Google Search is now mostly just used for information for students and getting facts from the internet. Socially Google doesn’t compete with the Twitterverse in the real time updates. However Google will promote Google plus which is not a bad social network but social networks only work and are are the best if most of everyone is on them that is why twitter and facebook dominate is because everyone has them. Because honestly you don’t use a social network site (like myspace for example) if your friends don’t have an account on them. Right now i don’t think it is in real time but i honestly believe in the future Google will turn to real time.

    Comment by Thomas Heffron -

  78. Without reading all the other comments, because this may have already been said, but it’s not that google isn’t indexing in real-time. They are. It’s that they have invested and made a business decision to push google plus ahead of everything else and they choose not to display twitter, FB, etc results. The capability is there, they have just made a business decision at this point not to roll it out to the public and instead try to push adoption of Google plus. Completely agree with the premise that search has and will continue to evolve.

    Comment by rcammon85 -

  79. Twitter is real time. Google is a reference library – the big picture, if you will. I don’t use Instagram, Tumblr, or Pinterest very often. When it comes to public events, I use Twitter and often there are Instagram photos tweeted out.

    I switched to Bing two days ago. I resisted any movement to the sad search engine for years, as the marketing team valiantly tried to convince me that people preferred Bing to Google (through UI witchery) in ads. I did not believe them, and frankly I still don’t. When you wrote that post about the Google Lifestyle, I totally agreed.

    Let’s be real here, though. After Google killed Wave, I was sad. Wave’s code is somewhere in Google Drive, now, though. When they killed Buzz, I was sad. When they killed Reader, they stepped over a line. Reader is/was heavily used by journalists. Google apparently didn’t care that every journalist was going to write an article of extreme outrage related to Reader’s closure. I switched to Feedly/Newsblur during that time period. They are both better tools.

    After reading The Circle by Dave Eggers, I became more conscious of just how much information about me the major software players have. I decided to stop routing all my search through Google. The natural step would have been for me to go to DuckDuckGo, but I don’t like the results that I get there.

    At that time, I became aware that Bing pretty much pays people to use Bing and to bring others into the fold. The compensation is peanuts to someone like Mark and also to most people with a full-time job, but you can get a free Hulu Plus account if you use Bing search. It’s not worth a ton of money, but it’s definitely a nice-to-have. There’s a little privacy policy on the bottom which starkly outlines the difference between Bing and Google Search.

    Google is not ever going to die. I work in Android development for my day job. I continue to use Gmail and Hangouts to communicate with the majority of the important people in my life. I still have documents floating around in Drive, though collaboration via Drive is much less common now that I work at a software company that keeps everything on the intranet. My primary use of Google products is for communication/collaboration, where they continue to be quite strong. Google’s stronghold of search is slowly eroding.

    Comment by spakona -

  80. Look at the Google home page. Kind of a “What the F are you looking for” search model.

    Comment by Scott Norris -

  81. I feel you, Mark. I think you’re right on.

    To be succinct, yes, search is changing and the change is flowing from the multiple number of platforms in the space.

    I think Google’s focus is not particularly on a ‘Search’ function, but rather on being a hub for information. In this regard, I think Google is a power player and the number of opportunities that can result from simply the store and access to such a plethora of information are endless. Search is probably on the outer sphere of core competencies for Google.

    This is besides the point, but I’ve tweeted about unity coming into the space. Really, there is no legitimate reason why a single platform could not replace the function of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, Google Information Search…

    I think I see where you are going with this. A one stop search engine where the user can select the relevant social media platform and conduct a search. For example, a search of ‘NBA’ by selecting Twitter would bring all Tweets with the NBA subject to the user. A search for an organization or person by selecting Facebook would bring up requested information from that platform.

    No need to for the user to login to respective account to access search results. Partner this Search ability with news content, entertainment media, and other value-adds with the goal of gaining users and momentum.

    Thanks Mark for sharing your thoughts!

    Comment by honourslawstudent -

  82. I hadn’t really thought of it quite like that. Categorizing your search needs as a function of “recency” I think is the key. Others have said the same .. that the searchers needs/uses has changed from encyclopedia / reference to real time or as you said “recency”. I’m new to twitter and still finding my way around; and in the final stages of building a new website that I DO expect to update several times a week, if not daily — but I have a business with client streams of information to agents, brokers, builders and investors so that’s quite different than a “regular” person (who usually don’t host websites as individuals). I do have the new website integrated with twitter so I hope to address both streams of information need — the ones who crave recency as well as the ones who want more in-depth information and high quality visuals (she says with fingers crossed). Well, so that’s the plan and the site will be up in around a week …. so we shall see. Interesting perspective — thanks. J

    Comment by SMARTePLANS -

  83. Marc GOOG has so much on their plate with the US Governmental Agencies and overall knowing what every person is searching for globally that by physics has to slow them down. These guys are our future and hope they do not abuse status ! They supply the NSA with more information than the NSA provides itself. Ny thoughts are if you play above board and do not break any laws …..why sweat the small stuff. I also wish you would post more stock blogs as you make so much common sense…help us with a little more of your market themes s I have done well trying to see companies like you profess to….M Kevin Currie

    Comment by Kevin Currie -

  84. Social search is absolutely necessary. When was the last time news didn’t break on Twitter first? I mean, I bet Mark finds out about NBA signings and trades through Adrian Wojnarowski’s Twitter account at the same time the rest of do.

    In response to one of the other comments, real-time, social searches carry great value to brands in terms of marketing, customer feedback mechanism, and potential new features. For example, a customer is significantly more likely to complain about a product using social media than he/she is contact customer support. The parent company will only know about the post if they are tagged, potentially leaving many dissatisfied customers. Having search function that works across social media platforms makes customer support that much more powerful, both in terms of increased user feedback and increased response times to fix problems.

    If you don’t want to believe me, check out companies such as Topsy (recently acquired by Apple for $250M) and Dataworks (recently raised a $42M Series C). There’s Gigabytes upon Gigabytes of useful data within social media. Companies need ways to access, make sense of, and create action items from it. This isn’t a new problem. Mark isn’t the first comment about it.

    Google has always seemed a bit slow to the social game. I have a feeling they realize this and are working to correct and improve their offerings (Google+ is steadily and subtly gaining momentum). It isn’t healthy to doubt Google, they own the largest pool of engineering talent on the planet and $50B of cash on the balance sheet if they’d rather go the acquisition route.

    Comment by Adam Hunke -

  85. I go to Twitter first. News, everything. Follow the people who give you what you want. I don’t tweet, twitter is where I go to get up to date.

    Comment by ml1212 -

  86. Hi Mark,

    Actually, searchers are changing, rather than search. Many searchers are starting to treat search with the expectation that it’s a real-time, or near real-time monitor of events going on in the world, rather than a reference library that tends to be most effective when there’s been time for people to link to pages so that those can be ranked in part based upon PageRank and the importance of links pointing to a page.

    Google News depends a lot less upon links, and counts the freshness of news as part of ranking news articles, so it ends up being more timely in the results it shows. But we’ve seen that sources like Twitter can send news quicker than online newspapers and news media can often report upon it.

    Google did have a “real time” search a couple of years ago, when they had a deal with Twitter where they received an XML feed of Tweets quickly after those were tweeted. This access to Twitter’s firehose of data was reliant upon a business agreement between Google and Twitter that expired two years ago and wasn’t renewed. There were some expectations that Google would start showing Google+ results instead of Tweets, but that hasn’t happened, and it looks like Google+ isn’t getting the kind of recency-sensitive contributions to their service that Twitter did, and still does.

    If Google wants to show real-time or near real-time information, they either need to negotiate a new deal with Twitter, get more people to submit fresher and more timely information to Google+, or find another source that can bring them that kind of information.

    Comment by Bill Slawski -

  87. Hi Mark,

    I use Google the way I used Encyclopedia Britannica 25 years ago. There is a lot of good information out there, but it also requires an equal amount of research. Thanks for doing what you do.

    Go Cubs.

    Steve Meagher 381 O’day Lane Maplewood, MN 55119

    Comment by Stephen Meagher -

  88. Ha, twitter too will be replaced with real time as-I-think-and-see-it technology. Google glass is a deeper asset than it would first appear my friends. Face and Picture recognition will be followed by situation recognition and, believe it or not, premonition – that is to say, practical intelligence which will recognize the components of scenarios as they develop and, consequently, be ready with the appropriate response; whether that means relaying news, submitting data or giving fact-based warnings to end users…

    Comment by Murray Schultz -

  89. The question really is based on what kind of information one is looking for. As a professional SEO Consultant in Vancouver BC Canada, I have to say that Mark’s search query is event based in real-time. Google search query is important for researching what you need to learn with in-depth contextual information. For example, as we all know twitter is limited to 140 characters, what kind of content-rich information can you pack into that limited space available? Google is a search engine for the most relevant information you need to research about versus posting snippets of quick blubs on Twitter and other social media portals. Search Engines and Social Media platforms do work together to give us the big picture. We need them both for different reasons and kind of information we are looking for at a given time.

    Thanks for the post Mark.

    Cheers to all,


    Comment by Noel Oco -

  90. For topical conversations & breaking news = Twitter
    — Twitter search is pretty messy though (hashtag-based will do that from what I’m noticing). Every time I search for something it shows older stuff first, from “more prominent” users who have more action on their posts, etc. I’d prefer just straight up chronological order, but I understand that could also lead to hashtag spam, etc. — they need some sort of “truth” algorithm (as does Facebook now that they’re going all-in on hashtags).

    What my family is up to and more recently a replacement for my old RSS readers = Facebook
    — They seem to be more actively involved in solving the quality of content problem. With so many changes happening with them right now, time will tell how that turns out.

    Static Information = Google
    — Addresses, locations, Encyclopedia type information is Google’s strong point. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    Things to buy, price checks, product release dates = Amazon
    — Everything from Q-tips to SLR cameras, they really have this nailed.

    Just like the “Internet of things” and “smart” everything has “fragmented” what was previously a “computer”, different types of information is finding it’s home in different locations. This might sound messy theoretically, but in actual use it’s more effective and useful than the old all-in-one search engine.

    – John Matsis

    Comment by jmdigi -

  91. Mark,
    You make some important points here and I have two different perspectives. As a journalist who tracks work stress, business and digital trends, breaking news happens for me in Twitter. Then I generally followup on google to search recent news sources. But more often than not, the hashtag in twitter will get me there. As a blogger, it’s a bit frustrating that the google algorithms are always changing. As a result I feel like my blog or even Forbes stories don’t trend as quickly. Bottom-line is that my twitter community delivers better than google in disseminating my material. Still, I’m curious what you think about the impact of Google+ moving forward as in the comment of the last person. @JudyMartin8

    Comment by Judy Martin -

  92. Information real time is what television and the radio are about, or in digital terms your phone or ipad connected to a local node that is collecting data at the source. The relevance of google is what it is good for “depth” of details on topics or views on history, product searches etc. I had the same thoughts, you relate, only three months ago when I was searching the AppStore versus searching google. So your right google is less relevant overall. But not less important. Unless you own google stock, I wouldn’t worry……and enjoy the content no matter how you find it !

    Comment by Mark Rittmayer -

  93. I think we already are learning when & where to use Google vs social media. For example, when there’s severe weather in the area, it would never occur to me to search for weather updates on Google or Bing or anywhere else, but I will almost immediately turn to Twitter to find out what’s going on around me when I’m huddled with the family under the stairs. Google’s purpose is to gather and assist in finding historical information; social media outlets are great for more immediate reactions.

    Comment by Jim Gross -

  94. This is a very insightful post. However, it is likely that the “real time” searches carry less commercial or purchase intent than the searches that would go through Google. How often would you search Twitter or Facebook for a flight/hotel, shopping query, B2B service, etc.? That’s where the search dollars are, and Google has been smart to “verticalize” its search for travel, local, shopping, and other high dollar and purchase intent verticals. How valuable is the user that’s searching for the score of today’s Mavs game versus the user that’s booking a hotel, buying a computer, making reservations at a restaurant, etc. Mark is thinking more like an old fashioned media mogul (in terms of high-level eyeballs, time spend, audience share, etc.) rather than an Internet marketer (where context is incredibly important and getting the user at the bottom of the purchase funnel is MANY times more valuable than a user looking at UGC or searching for the weather, sports scores, etc.).

    Comment by Lenny Grover -

  95. I think your points brought up a better question: is the unit for valuations of web-based companies going to change once more. Back when you sold your company, and Google’s golden era, websites were valued on page views. Then, Facebook and especially Snapchat was seemingly valued on users and on-screen-time. I wonder if Twitter and Instagram should be valued on users or on content created, and what this means for future web x.0 companies.

    Comment by Charles Ip -

  96. anybody in this just room wanna be buyed by googles just invent the realtime searcher getting the info from social media. Add some adwords. And you rich. Easy money 🙂

    Comment by baltabiosca -

  97. Twitter is the preferred social media of journalists and as such, is becoming the go-to source of real-time updates. Yes – if I’m conducting research for a paper I’m writing I will use Google, but otherwise?…not so much

    Comment by joehefferon -

  98. 80-90% of all information (consumer, enterprise, structured and unstructured data) created over past 2-3 years- the majority being unstructured data. GOOG is indexing a smaller percentage of the information pie. Would stand to reason that GOOG loses search share- at least at the margin. GOOG-plus is the co’s best defense against this trend.

    Comment by Jonathan Maietta -

  99. People’s expectations are absolutely changing. Try talking to your techies about what happened 12 hours ago and you’ll feel like you’re talking about ancient history.

    Next week I’m launching a new real-time search engine which indexes all of radio in real time so users can find any song or show they want to listen to. Take a sneak peak at:

    Comment by Michael “MR” Robertson -

  100. I LOVE GOOGLE! How dare you! Well if I gave a crap about sports maybe I would agree but I use google about 10 times a day for useful information on how to fix anything and to settle arguments with my wife because im always right. And facebook sucks balls because most of my “friends” and family are douche bags. I deactivated my facebook to shut out their constant whining and negativity. But I hear you and im sure being constantly attuned to the business world you need the latest updates now not later so that works for you. Youre still my hero even if you use a bunch of crap websites that I probably will never use. Rock on.

    Comment by hypocrisyrealized -

  101. I think search is broken right now because the systems behind it weren’t well thought out. You have data in too many places and it really does fragment things. Certain data may be more relevant to a particular person and they might prefer more custom tailored results over Google. Keyword based search is broken. That being said–I think technology like IBM’s WATSON is going to revolutionize a computer’s ability to understand what we want. It seems like the world will head in that direction. Companies like Google will have the expertise to implement the highly technical algorithms for it, while smaller companies will struggle to compete.

    Comment by Andrew Strubhar -

  102. Perhaps you are correct. But the thing that I love about Google is their core ability to adapt to the changing marketplace and adapt new competencies. If you look at bleeding edge tech services such as Spotify/Pandora/Kindle/etc…Google is quick to respond with services that are equally as good and native with their Android ecosystem (Think Play Music and Play Books). Something tells me that they can adjust over the next few years and include just what you are talking about or come out with an entirely new platform that outperforms twitter/instagram.

    Comment by Jeff Bagley -

  103. I never understood the point of search on twitter until the marathon attacks and aftermath. Watching the manhunt unfold via twitter made it clear that this was the place to search if I needed real time information.

    Comment by Cape Cod Offseason-In Season -

  104. I find myself using Twitter to search more, and I even jumped on Bing, but get much of the same information. It’s increasingly frustrating without the twitter and other feeds showing up in Google.

    The thought that somebody else will become dominant is interesting considering that Google is acquiring so many companies that target having meta on everybody. I like the idea of less Google and more other…

    Comment by Kirk Taylor -

  105. Agreed. Google is stil the go to place for finding general information but there is basically no reason to use it to find out how my favorite band is progressing with their latest album, what is happening at this very moment in an NBA game, or what the latest important breaking news is as it would only slow down my efficiency.

    Comment by Hunter Couts -

  106. Interesting. I think personally that google is still trying to get Google plus to be the number one option in social media, so when they do that, they rival facebook, tumblr & twitter, which (respectively) own instagram and twitter, meaning that integration steers people away from google plus. However, Google will (probably) eventually concede defeat or go with the “If you can’t beat em’, join em’ attitude.”

    Comment by webk109 -

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