Last month, Google's Realtime Search feature went away. This was the result of Google and Twitter failing to come to terms on Google's use of the Twitter firehose, which allowed Google to tap into tweets in realtime.
Twitter did not make up the entirety of Google's realtime search. There were other sources in the mix, including Google Buzz, public Facebook updates, blogs, etc. However, Twitter was clearly the most valuable source. It has pretty much become the go-to place on the web for realtime updates about anything. Facebook is much bigger, but a much larger percentage of Twitter updates are public, making them an accessible source of up to the second information. Pretty useful when you're trying to organize the world's information, I would think.
Without tweets in Google's realtime search, people seeking this realtime information will just be more inclined to go to Twitter Search (which was recently improved). I wouldn't think it would be in Google's best interest to for people to go elsewhere for any kind of search, but that's what's happening. I know I'm finding myself visiting Twitter Search more often now.
Apparently Google didn't want to fork out enough money to organize that part of the world's information, at least for the time being.
Ben Parr at Mashable, covering a search panel in Mountain View, where Google's Amit Signhal spoke, reports that Singhals said “The value the product was providing was not enough,” in regards to Realtime Search without a steady flow of tweets - hence the feature's removal. According to Parr, he also said, however, that Google is "actively working" on bringing the feature back, and that they're experimenting with adding data from Google+ and other sources.
The addition of Google+ would be no surprise, but will that (along with these unnamed "other sources") be enough to make up for the lack of tweets? Well, I guess that depends on just how much Google+ takes off.
Many users have already suggested that Google+ has eaten into their Twitter time, but in my experience, Google+ hasn't come even close to Twitter so far in terms of providing a wealth of realtime information about just about everything.
Of course, it's hard to say just how valuable Google+ is in this regard without a search feature (not to mention the fact that Google+ isn't even available to everybody yet). Singhal, did also reportedly indicate that a search feature is on the way, however.
Here's another bonus. Googlers are thinking about RSS on Google+. Nothing has been announced. It's not even exactly been said that this is being worked on, but Googler Kun Zhung wrote in a Google+ update this morning, "Google+ needs to integrate rss, seriously... Why can't we add RSS to our circles?"
We know Google is listening to user feedback or Google+ improvements. I would have to assume they're listening to other Googlers too. Zhang is part of Google's YouTube team.