We all know that I hoover somewhere between general consumer and computer savvy individual. I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. That said, I was watching Google’s highlight video today about their amazing new “real-time search results” when it occurred to me that even I can see this is the best thing to happen to spammers since the invention of pop-up ads.
Can you imagine the cluster that will occur when you are guaranteed an above the cut link in the SERPS?
Twitter barely has the bandwidth capacity to stay alive as it is, this could literally shut their system down and possibly even destroy their entire model.
I have to have some hope that Google has recognized this and will take steps to ensure the quality of their real time search results, but from the limited information that I have seen, it does not appear to have been addressed.
Don’t get me wrong, I think social network search is and could be one of the greatest innovations in internet advertising and communication world has seen. However, as with all innovation, there are going to be those who compromise it’s purpose in the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar.
Real Time Liability
The second thing that comes to mind is the thought of liability in real time. For instance, I have a long time friend that follows me on all of my social network profiles. He is a great guy, but he occasionally says things that should probably be kept to himself when he is communicating with me.
I can see it now:
“Hey, did you hear about X#Y&Z inc.? Those idiots screwed an old lady out of $50! @johnnywednesday”
Does that open me up for liability? Probably not, I didn’t write it, but it is associated with my accounts because it was (theoretically) written to me and that kind of gray area makes me nervous. We all know that this is the kind of thing that could get you handed a court date and a trip through the legal system if your not careful.
On the other side, say that for one reason or the other, you pissed off a customer that is set out to exact revenge against you and your organization. This customer spends the entire day posting updates about how much your organization sucks. Are they spitting libel? Probably, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt your brand and cost you time and money.
Real Time Stalkers
With this new feature comes new danger of predation and personal violations. Facebook has announced that users will have to opt out of having their status updates posted in the real time feeds.
I hate to say it, but in this day and age, when your status updates and posted for the general search population to be able to access, you run the risk of opening yourself up to something you don’t want.
We see: “Headed out for my vacation, see everyone in a week!”
Criminal sees: Click profile, click link to personal webpage, find facebook profile, find address, find house, STEAL EVERYTHING.
We See: “Mom dropped me off at the park, supposed to meet Andrea and her parents, they must be running late”
Kidnapper sees: Opportunity
I know that those are both the extreme cases and the truth of the matter is that if someone wanted to, they could gather that same type of information from twitter search results now. However, it appears as thought they are making it a little bit easier with these new features.
Like I said, I’m probably thinking about this way to hard and not getting all of the facts, but especially for the spam world, I can see this being a real time problem. Outside of that, real time search results should provide us with a lot of great added information to our queries and provide us a better overall search experience.