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google-realtime-offlineGoogle has taken its powerful Realtime search product offline after a 2009 agreement to display up-to-the-minute Twitter results expired.

The shutdown of Realtime comes just as Google is in the process of rolling out Google+, its new social networking initiative that competes with Twitter. Google said it planned to relaunch Realtime search after retooling it and adding in Google+ results.

“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,” Google told Search Engine Land. “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. Our vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources.”

Google+ is a new social networking product the company hopes will fare better than earlier efforts like Google Buzz and Wave, keeping the company relevant in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Some of our staff members, including myself, have tested it, and we think it has more promise than Buzz and Wave; one of our columnists even suggested Google+ could kill Twitter.

If Google+ is truly ramping up for a fight with Twitter, it’s no wonder the companies aren’t working together on this product any longer. Hopefully, Realtime will be back online soon with Google+ and a Twitter crawler enabled to keep a barrage of online info coming in at high speed.

Have you ever used Realtime search? Do you think Google+ could take out Twitter?

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