Google Gets Its First Taste Of Facebook's Realtime Stream

Google’s new realtime search wouldn’t be complete without Facebook updates. At the tail-end of today’s Google search event Marissa Mayer announced that Google will start to include realtime results from Facebook as well as MySpace. While Twitter and MySpace is making available everybody’s updates (or at least the public ones), Google right now will only show updates from public Facebook pages, which are generally fan pages.

“Facebook will be providing us with a feed of updates from public profile pages, also known as Facebook pages,” says Mayer. Facebook is still holding back publicly-designated updates from individuals (those visible to “everyone”). These individual updates make up the widest and most valuable part of Facebook’s stream.

Mayer would not discuss the financial terms of the deals with Facebook (or with Twitter or MySpace). But it is likely that Google is paying a hefty fee for this data. The amount it is paying probably depends on whether it is just ingesting the data or providing its realtime index of these status updates back to the underlying services. Facebook however is already indexing all Facebook status updates on its own, so it is not clear that it would want or need Google’s indexed data, and may be holding out for a more lucrative offer for the full fed of public updates. So today’s announcement may be just a first step for Facebook, with that more valuable set of updates open to future negotiations.

For Google, mastering realtime search is critical because it is one of the few areas where it is playing catch-up, and thus there is an opportunity for another search engine to steal the realtime show. In order to become the most comprehensive realtime search engine, Google must be able to index and display the most important sources of realtime data. Being able to dive deeper into Facebook’s stream will be necessary in order to do that.