Real-Time Search: 5 Alternatives to Google, Bing

Real-time search tools let you search not only the Web but also Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and similar services -- which can prove especially helpful when events such as the Haiti earthquake happen. Here's a look at five tools for effective real-time search.

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Thu, January 21, 2010

CIO — When search engine giants Microsoft Bing and Google (GOOG) announced their moves into the real-time search arena late last year, they joined a number of small startups racing to position themselves ahead of their competitors. Unlike traditional search engines, real-time search sites index updates from social communities such as Twitter, Delicious, Flickr and YouTube, providing you with a peek into the hot discussion topics on the Web.

Many people have turned to real-time search sites to follow events (think Captain Sully landing on the Hudson River or the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti)—these results can often point you to blogs and other new sources of information that traditional search engines may have overlooked. "It essentially allows you to tap material...where there is almost no delay between composition and publishing," says Michael Fleischner, author of SEO Made Simple.

Give these five real-time search sites a try. Many of them have great, intuitive interfaces (like Thoora and Leapfish) and are customizable, to help you find exactly what you're looking for, as it's happening.

1. Collecta


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At Collecta, you'll see a list of "what's hot right now"—a list of topics with related articles, tweets, blog posts, photos and comments about popular searches. The ranking of these topics and the related content change in real time, based on popularity. When you enter a search and click "Now!" Collecta gives you a streaming list of real-time posts—everything from comments from readers on news sites to recent tweets and Wordpress blog entries. You also have the option to narrow your search to just blog posts and articles; comments on blog posts; updates from Twitter and microblogging sites Jaiku and Identica; photos from Flickr, TwitPic and yFrog; and videos from YouTube and Ustream.

2. Leapfish

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Leapfish lets you search two ways: via real-time search and a more conventional search. The results page will give you top news results, a Wikipedia page (if there is one assigned to the topic), top Web results (you can choose whether Leapfish uses Google, Yahoo (YHOO) or Bing as the search engine), video results, Twitter results, a section for blog results and images, top posts from Digg and a shopping section (where you can view top hits from Amazon or eBay) (EBAY). Leapfish also lets you filter results by Web-only, real time, videos, images, news, blogs and shopping.

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