Will Facebook Help Social Gaming Find Its Voice?

Last week, when I read the news about Vivox’s voice plug-in coming to Facebook, it got me thinking about what the integration of voice capabilities into general-purpose, consumer facing social networks would mean. Like most people, my initial reaction is to cringe. You can’t blame me for feeling that way, especially if you’ve experienced the interruption of Facebook Chat messages from random connections popping up willy-nilly during work hours. That said, when I get past my anti-social tendencies and think of the potential that voice adds to the social network and its associated apps, I can’t help but think this may be, well, game-changing.

Google Gets Real-time Search

google_logoTwitter, you’re not the only one with up-to-the-second search results. Google (s goog) now boasts that ability, too, a fact revealed in an Omgili blog post. It isn’t yet a publicly-available feature, but with very little effort on your part, you too can narrow your results to “this past second,” or a range of other different increments.
The trick is in using Google’s “Search Options,” a new feature added in May of this year that allows you to filter your results a number of ways, including according to how recently something was published. The closest you can get to real-time results using the official Google menu options is “Past 24 hours,” which is handy, but if currency is central to how well you do your job, getting even closer is ideal. Here’s how to do it. Read More about Google Gets Real-time Search

Get the Drift With Gist

-22Gist, a free web service that provides a snapshot of information about your email contacts, is publicly launching in beta today. The web service pulls information about email contacts and the companies they work for from around 50,000 news sites and 20 million blogs and is supported by Microsoft (s msft) Outlook, Gmail (s goog) and Salesforce (s crm). Indeed, when we test-drove Gist, we found that it was no longer necessary to sift endlessly through a flood of real-time information — such as tweets, LinkedIn updates and the like — to find the information for which we were searching. Read More about Get the Drift With Gist

Will Real-Time Google Traffic Maps Really Help?

Google is bringing its considerable heft to the hot traffic applications space, collecting speed and location information from mobile users and reporting its analysis of that data in real time through its Google Maps app. But will its participation make traffic apps better or worse?

The Real-time Web: Sifting Required

pushing rock up hillDespite all the hype and excitement around the real-time web, access to real-time information online is hardly a new phenomenon. That fact stuck with me after talking to Chris Cox, Facebook’s product director, last week at the social networking company’s headquarters. As he noted, “Real time has been around since [the launch of] Technorati,” referring to the blog search engine founded by Dave Sifry in 2002 that aggregates hot stories from across the web. Yet seven years later, we still haven’t figured out how to handle the inundation of real-time information. Read More about The Real-time Web: Sifting Required

Is Tiered Data Access Unfair, or the American Way?

Caught up in a wave of pressure to make the banking industry pay for wrecking the economy, the SEC and a few prominent politicians have turned their collective gaze toward high-frequency trading (aka algorithmic or electronic or flash trading). Among the major criticisms of the practice is that it is unfair – the haves pay for milliseconds-early access to market data and use expensive computing systems to make voluminous trades before pending trades complete, while the have-nots are left playing catch-up. The kerfuffle has prompted some to ask: What would happen if Facebook decided to sell its mountains of data to the highest bidders, which could in turn launch targeted marketing or intelligence strategies that would leave their competitors in the dust? But in a capitalist society where winner-takes-all tends to be the name of the game, is unfairness really that bad a thing?

What Twitter Airfare Sales Tell Us About Real-Time E-Commerce

JetBlue and United are giving their Twitter followers first crack at discounted airfare in an effort to fill seats that would otherwise go empty. Though airlines have already been doing this through email, Twitter fares (“Twares” or “Cheeps,” depending on which areline you follow) are a whole new ballgame. First, they likely allow airlines to reach a broader audience. But more importantly, since email is generally not engineered for real-time interaction, Twitter’s dynamism – and more broadly, that of the real-time Web in general — could enable new ways of selling time-sensitive products and services.