Google suspends Realtime Search as Twitter deal expires

Google, Twitter won't divulge possible negotiations to renew contract

Google has temporarily suspended its Realtime Search service, and neither Google nor Twitter will say if they're working toward re-establishing an agreement that will have Twitter onboard when the service comes back online.

Google announced on Twitter today that it had temporarily shut down its Realtime Search service while it tries to work the company's new Google+ social networking service into the mix. Google Realtime pulls real-time social networking posts as well as tweets into Google's search results.

The service was disabled early Sunday.

Google has not said how long it expects Realtime Search to be down. In today's tweet, the company only says "stay tuned."

However, working Google+ into the Realtime mix wasn't the only thing that pushed Google to disable the search feature.

The day before Realtime Search was yanked, Google's access to Twitter's tweet stream reached an end. Now, unlike search rival Bing, Google doesn't have real-time access to Twitter's traffic flow and it's trying to figure out its next step.

"Since October of 2009, we have had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results through a special feed, and that agreement expired on July 2," said a Google spokesman in an email to Computerworld. "While we will not have access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that's publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google."

It also seems that Google has not ruled out creating another agreement with the microblogging site. "Twitter has been a valuable partner for nearly two years, and we remain open to exploring other collaborations in the future," the spokesman added.

Twitter, though, doesn't sound as positive about a future collaboration. Confirming that its tweet-sharing agreement with Google is over, Twitter told Computerworld, "We continue to provide this type of access to Microsoft, Yahoo!, NTT Docomo, Yahoo! Japan and dozens of other smaller developers. And, we work with Google in many other ways."

The microblogging site declined to say if it is negotiating with Google or if it hopes to form a new search partnership in the future.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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