Real-time search was an integral part of Google search from winter 2009 to summer 2011. The real-time search function provided live results from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or blogs. Through the Caffeine update, the SERPs were additionally made more current.
Google has routinely extended its functionalities for indexing web content. With the introduction of real-time search, Google provided an option to browse the Internet in real time, especially social networks. This was made possible with the short message service Twitter through its own API, which Google was able to use to index tweets and integrate them in the SERPs. Results from real-time search received their own timeline as well as the ability to click hashtags or view geodata.
The reasons why Google discontinued the real-time search could be manifold. For one, it is now possible to search tweets directly on the Twitter platform. Secondly, it is not of great importance to Google when the results take into account other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. With Google+, the search engine company has its own network, which it can push through integration in the SERPs, for example, with the Google OneBox.
Besides tweets from Twitter, the real time search could also find posts from the portals Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, and Google Buzz, the forerunner of Google Plus and show them in the SERPs. In addition to these public sources, results from the networks Yahoo! Answers, Quora or Jaiku were also included.
Due to the competition between Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks like Pinterest it seems questionable whether Google is going to relaunch its real time search. It probably has no interest in directing users to the website of the “competition.” Technical options will not be lacking, because after the infrastructure has been created with the Caffeine update and since updates such as the freshness update, current content is preferred, it is conceivable that for current events, important Facebook posts will also be displayed in the SERPs provided the Googlebot is allowed to index it.