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Realtime Search

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After acquiring Summize, Twitter now offers realtime search of its public feed. Five new tweets came in while I was setting up the screen snap.


People can't always find breaking news and current topics of publics conversation with ordinary keyword searches of indexed web resources, and already get pointers to current information frequently by the electronic equivalent of word of mouth.


Use this pattern with an activity stream service to enable people to find concepts in up-to-the-minute status updates and activities.


Provide the familiar elements of a search interface (a text box and a search button) and make it clear to the person searching that the results will be ordered by recency (reverse-chronological order) and not by relevancy.

Technorati, which began as a blog search engine, offers search results from what it calls "the world live web."

Optionally, give the user hints about the sort of things that can be profitably searched for in a realtime search interface, such as by listing the current top trending topics as Twitter Search does.

Twitter offers hints about some of the most popular search topics of the moment,

Optionally, offer the ability to subscribe to search results, most commonly in the form of an RSS feed, to give people the ability to track a term or phrase and be notified almost immediately whenever it appears.

While writing this book I subscribed to the RSS feed for a Twitter search on the phrase "social patterns" as way of tracking the spread of this meme.


The world is moving too fast for "old school" search engines to keep up with the leading edge. Realtime search tools that capture signals from the social web provide a method for finding extremely current information and news.

Related Patterns

As Seen On

OneRiot offers realtime search based on signals from the social media ecosystem (shown here finding web pages based on Twitter mentions).

Sources / Similar Patterns in Other Libraries