Google has silently taken down it’s real time search page and another very useful search tool Google wonder wheel.
That’s right, Google real time search is presently not reachable and you will get a 404 page while trying to access Google.com/realtime.
It has been just three days since Google Plus was launched on a field trial basis and it appears that Google has bigger plans with their real time search feature. Previously, Google real time search used only Twitter results as the source but since Google Plus has now been launched, I guess they have future plans to integrate it with real time Google Plus results.
Question is, will the upcoming version of Google real time search contain results only from Google Plus? Will Google provide exclusive results only from Google circles and ignore micro blogging sites like Twitter? I hope not but since Google is on an overhaul spree, you never know.
On another note, Google real time search was not a very exclusive service, considering the fact that the results were showed only from Twitter.com. Let’s take an example:
The above screenshot was taken when a major earthquake hit the northern parts of India and Pakistan on January 18th, 2011.
Notice that each and every result is from Twitter.com only and Google never shows any other source on it’s real time search result page. Minutes after the earthquake, major news channels and media publications covered the story. But instead of showing their updates on real time search page, Google restricted the results to Twitter updates only.
My point is that anyone can get the same updates from Twitter advanced search. If you’re showing results from another site without any added features, there is no reason why users will use your site instead of using the source. I agree a lot of users did, but Google never offered anything exclusive on it’s real time search page.
Now after they re-launch Google real time search again, it would be interesting to see whether Google provides a feature to filter real time results from your circles. I guess, users might get an option to see real time results from their Google Plus circles, apart from searching the whole web for some keyword or topic of their choice.
Now where is this Google Wonder wheel and why did they dropped it?
No one has any clue why Google took down the wonder wheel feature. Wonder Wheel was a very useful tool for bloggers, webmasters and anyone who needed a way to find similar topics and phrases that generate a lot of user interest. This should not be confused with Google suggest, which merely shows which queries are popular among users searching for a specific keyword or topic.
There is a speculation among webmasters that Google wonder wheel was removed because SEO’s used it to generate content only for search engines. Well, in that case, Google should also drop Google suggest, related searches and the public nature of Google Adword keyword tool.
What surprises me even more is that Google never closes a feature without giving prior notice to users. This is highly unusual, we will have to wait for some time until Google releases an official explanation or re-launches the service again.