One of the biggest conundrums in realtime search is how to show more than just the most recent results. Sometimes you want context or the ability to see the most important status updates about a specific topic, but if the results go back too far they are no longer realtime. The various realtime search engines and Twitter itself are addressing this issue in various ways, such as by highlighting extra-popular Tweets up top and then flowing the rest chronologically below (that is Twitter’s own method). Bing is starting to pull in realtime results into the main search results and showing the most Tweeted links for given keywords.
Google is going a different route by adding a timeline view of realtime updates. The feature is rolling out over the next few days, and includes more than just Twitter updates. (It will be under options, when you click the “Updates” link). Until then, you can check it out here.
The timeline lets you go back in time to see what people were saying about any particular topic. It searches updates on Twitter, Facebook, Buzz, and MySpace. It is an attempt to recreate the conversation which occurred at a specific point in time about any topic.