Tech Talk

Observations from Jamie DeLoma, journalist and computer nerd

Times Square scare highlights importance of real-time results

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As our society comes to expect to know what is happening immediately, it is growing increasingly important for search engines to deliver that information or risk losing its audience.

Shortly after parts of Times Square were evacuated earlier Wednesday over concerns of a suspicious van that turned out to pose no safety risk hours before the country turned its eyes toward the crossroads of the world, a technology writer entered “Times Square” into the query boxes for Google and Bing.  Guess who had the most relevant information, or for that matter, the only pertinent information.

If you guessed Bing, you are correct! 

According to TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld, Google returned old news results about New Year’s Eve preparations whereas Bing offered timely articles from ABCNews and CNN about the still developing story.

While Google had the relevant information on its site, it was buried and not easy to find.  Bing successfully delivered the most relevant news to a person yearning for it.  While Google still controls a substantially greater market-share, the search engine giant should not forget about its core business — Internet searches.

Real-time searching will play an increasingly prominent role in our society as more people sign on to social networking, and Google needs to recognize that.

If Google drops the ball too often, people may begin to become accustomed to turning to Bing for timely and relevant news queries — and then day-to-day searches, just as folks turned to Google over Yahoo not so long ago.

Jamie DeLoma