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Google has apparently killed off its Realtime search feature, or disabled it for a while, at the very least.
Google's recently unveiled social network, Google+, brought a host of changes with it, including a cleaner-looking user interface.
An unexpected casualty of these changes may be Google's Realtime search, developed to integrate real-time data from Twitter (as well as blogs and other social networking services) into a Googler's web search.
According to Search Engine Land, the Realtime option has disappeared from Google. The feature's URL leads to a 404 error page, and the option is missing from Google's left-hand toolbar. And tweet results no longer appear under recent News query results.
A tweet on the @GoogleRealtime Twitter feed acknowledges the feature's absence.
"We've temporarily disabled google.com/realtime. We're exploring how to incorporate Google+ into this functionality, so stay tuned," says a Monday tweet.
A Google spokesperson provided Search Engine Land with the same statement.
Google's serious push into the social space places it directly at odds with the likes of Twitter and other social networking giants. Could it be possible that Google is slowly phasing out Twitter integration?
UPDATE: According to Search Engine Land, Google has disabled the Realtime search feature because the company's contract with Twitter has lapsed.
The search engine sent SEL the following statement:
Since October of 2009, we have had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results through a special feed, and that agreement expired on July 2.
While we will not have access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that’s publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google.
According to the statement Google plans to revive the feature, but may not rely as heavily on data from Twitter.
"Our vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources," said Google.
What do you think of Google's choice to remove Realtime search option? Weigh in via our QuickPoll.