Over the weekend, Google disabled Realtime updates in search results – including Twitter feeds – while also removing the Realtime option from the Google search toolbar. Those who still see Realtime listed will pull up a 404 error reading that "the requested URL was not found on this server." There's no question that the function is gone, and Twitter is apparently partly to blame.
According to a message from Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker, the company temporarily disabled Realtime in order to explore ways to incorporate Google+ into the product going forward. The company said in an additional statement that its agreement to carry Twitter results actually expired on July 2. That said, there doesn't appear to any signs of renewal.
"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," the company said. "Our vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources."
So it's no coincidence, then, that Google launches its own Twitter/Facebook hybrid around the time its agreement with Twitter's Realtime feed expires. Instead of tweets, soon Googlers will see search-related Google+ chatter in real time just as Google+ users currently do within the actual social service. But does this mean the end of Twitter's live feed?
"Since October 2009, Twitter has provided Google with the stream of public tweets for incorporation into their real-time search product and other uses," Twitter said. "That agreement has now expired. 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."
Google, in turn, said it would "remain open to exploring other [Twitter] collaborations in the future." Sounds like Twitter won't be at the forefront of Realtime's social feed anytime soon.
In related news, over the weekend word on Google+ began to circulate that an iOS app for Google+ is done and currently waiting for Apple's approval. The submittal took place prior to July 4 and currently there's no indication of when the app will be available on Apple's App Store... if at all.
Also over the weekend, Facebook employees began to infiltrate Google's social stronghold. Facebook director of product Blake Ross asked those who added him on Google+ to also add Facebook vice president of user feedback Naomi Gleit so that users can suggest their "wishes and wants for Facebook and turn them into reality."
Looks like the Facebook apples don't fall far from the Zuckerberg tree.