Plurk, a micro-messaging service similar to Twitter, today added a nice new feature: Real-time conversation search. As you might expect, it allows you to search Plurk’s growing index of data to find out what people are saying about a topic right now. In its post on the matter, Plurk goes into how it thinks this is the next phase of search beyond the traditional search engines, and how social search could revolutionize things. Of course, it fails to mention its number one competitor in the field: Twitter.
Plurk, which launched about a year ago, differentiates itself from Twitter mainly in its look and feel. It emphasizes a horizontal scrolling timeline rather than a vertical one. Plurk also gives users set verbs to use for their updates, such as, “parislemon LOVES real-time search.” That’s all well and good, but Twitter still has the users — a lot more of them. Plurk notes that it’s been growing every day since its launch, and is close to seeing its 1 billionth aggregate responses, but that is nothing compared to the company it won’t mention in its post.
Unfortunately for Plurk, Twitter also just rolled out its on-site search integration to all users last week. Now, the fact of the matter is, if you really want some key data for something happening in real-time, you’re going to go to Twitter to get it, not Plurk. If you have a lot of friends that use Plurk, it may be interesting to use this search to see what they are doing, but Plurk knows the true value of real-time search lies in the masses — that’s why it’s opened up the public data for search queries. And again, it simply cannot match Twitter on that end.
And this real-time search on Plurk has another weakness too. It will only index actual updates right now and not responses (which make up the 1 billion number I threw out there earlier), so that’s a much less sizable index. Plurk has to do this to be able to search working, as it doesn’t have the team or the funds that Twitter currently has.
But kudos to Plurk for getting this done. It is a nice feature to have for any site and will soon be a necessity for these types of micro-messaging services. Track what people are saying about it on Twitter.