As I mentioned yesterday, Google released quite a bit of news covering a wide variety of areas. One of the larger headlines revolved around their new effort to integrate real-time search into the search results to help Google compete with Bing’s Twitter deal and, of course, Twitter itself. With real-time search, Google would be pulling live updates from news, blogs, Yahoo Answers, Twitter, etc, and placing them in the results as a live stream to tell you ‘what’s happening right now’.
Google put together a video to illustrate how real-time search was supposed to work.
In theory, the idea of inserting live feeds in the search results is pretty neat. I’m sure Google anticipated it as a good thing. An exciting thing. However, yesterday Rae Hoffman, my partner at Outspoken Media, underscored just how dangerous putting real-time results directly into the SERPs can be – claiming it opened the door to real-time spam and far more.
I recommend reading Rae’s post to get a full understanding of how Google’s current implementation opens Pandora’s Box to widespread spam and even dangerous behavior that may affect your children. However, I wanted to talk about it from a brand and reputation management perspective.
If you were the type of business that was slow to monitor what people were saying about you, you’re probably just got far worse.
Imagine that tomorrow a customer has a bad experience with you. Frustrated, John Doe heads to Twitter and whips out a slew of libelous statements. Then, a few hours later, someone does a search for your brand trying to locate your street address. They first they see isn’t your Web site or Google Local listing. It’s the live stream of tweets telling the world that you’re a liar and a crook. Maybe it even shows other people joining in and doing the same. It’s throwing the conversation that took place on Twitter and putting right out into center court so that it’s impossible to miss. It’s no longer a blog entry that can be pushed down or a bad review that can be rectified. It’s gossip sitting at the top of your search results.
As a business owner, what do you do to combat that?
You need to learn to listen faster. That means using tools like Twitter Search, Monitter, and Social Mention to monitor the conversation in real-time instead of simply watching it week by week. It also means getting more involved with your community to ward off these types of “attacks”.
We’re only a few days into Google’s real-time search endeavor so it’s my hope that they’re going find a way to perfect the very sloppy system they’ve unleashed to the masses. As it stands, it’s simply dangerous. Dangerous to business owners, to searchers, and even to parents who all just lost control of what’s streaming through their search results.