There’s a new trend that starting to sweep the web: Real-time. Everyone wants access to information as it happens instantaneously. FriendFeed recently went real-time and now Facebook is starting to embrace it. But those are just two services — what if you could search all the web in real-time? That’s the idea behind Scoopler.
Scoopler is a search engine created by AJ Asver and Dilan Jayawardane that gives you live updating real-time results across a variety of services. These include Twitter, Flickr, Digg, Delicious and others. You enter a query and the middle field on the page returns auto-updating results based on information coming in. The two columns that surround it give you hot search topics and popular content from around the web. It’s a pretty nice view of what is happening on the web at any given moment.
The problem here is that a lot of popular real-time results are completely dominated by Twitter. Take tonight, for example. A bunch of people went to go see the new Star Trek movie, which just opened. So a search for “star trek,” yields a ton of results, but every single one of them is from Twitter. It’s nice to have the results auto-refresh when new updates come in, but really this isn’t much better than actual Twitter Search.
Less popular search terms produce better results. For example, I just searched “bananas” and a bunch of newly uploaded Flickr photos are mixed in with the tweets. Unfortunately, when it comes to real-time updates, Twitter is going to trump everything else most of the time, because it is a real-time, active communication platform whereas these other services are comparatively passive, lazy rivers of information.
One element that’s really nice, is the “Peek” feature, which allows you to take a look at pages being linked to in an overlay on top of the results, so you don’t have to visit the actual page. There is also an easy way to share a result right from Scoopler.
There are a few competitors in this space right now as well. One of them, OneRiot, also promises real-time web search. But that service is scouring the web for various pages as they pop up in real time, not updates from all of these social services. In that regard, Scoopler is more like Twitter search or really more like FriendFeed search (though that doesn’t update in real-time — yet). Another service, BlastCasta, mixes Google and Twitter results — which is actually pretty useful (though not live updating).
There’s nothing wrong with having a real-time search engine that yields mostly Twitter results, but Scoopler needs to tailor its product to diversify better. Because given some of the things we now know Twitter Search is working on, that seems like it will be more enticing in the long run. Or it needs to hope that another quick publishing platform comes along to challenge Twitter for results domination.
Scoopler is a Y Combinator-backed company.