Live or real-time Web search — web search meant for helping netizens find information the moment it is published — is the new trend gaining ground in the ever-evolving search space. NetSpeak takes a look at the latest developments in this segment.

The hallmark of today’s Net world is the proliferation of tools that let us disseminate information instantaneously with ease.

This part of the Web, where content gets updated in real-time, is called live Web ( http://www.hindu.com/biz /2006/01/09/stories/200601 0900831600. htm). Till a few years ago the major constituents of this dynamic segment of the Web were just blogs and a few popular social bookmarking sites and news feeds were sufficient to keep up with it.

However, the emergence of new technologies/applications (like Twitter, Facebook and the whole crop of social networking applications) has radically altered the constitution of real-time Web. This breakneck pace of growth in live Web content has made content monitoring a daunting task. Hence we need new/better solutions to counter this information avalanche in addition to news feeds.

The challenge of real-time search is to index/organise and display the content originating from live Web sources instantly. The viral growth of Twitter-based search applications (like Topsy: http://topsy.com/, discussed in the past) can be seen as an acknowledgement of this need. New Twitter-based search engines continue to emerge. Tweetmeme (http://tweetmeme.com/) is the latest one of this kind encountered by NetSpeak. Besides providing twitter-based search service, Tweetmeme spots the popular tweets, organises and presents them under different categories such as science, sports and lifestyle. Feeltiptop ( http://www.feeltiptop.com/) is yet another one of this kind worth a look.

If you wish to obtain the latest tweets pertaining to your favourite subject or theme via Gtalk, try out the IM bot “Exclaim Track” (http://excla.im/). To use this bot, add its address “ exclaimtrack@appspot.com” to your Gtalk contact list. Once this buddy comes live on your contact list, click on it and enter the message ‘track Keyword” (example: ‘Track statistics’). Immediately you will find tweets with this keyword (here, statistics) start flashing across your Gtalk client.

Twitter is just one of the several sources that produce unceasing content streams. We need search engines that gather content from a variety of services in the live/real-time Web and present the relevant ones as it emerges. This is the context in which the real-time search service Lazzyfeed ( http://www.lazyfeed.com/) barges in. This service can be used to closely monitor live updates on any topic. You can subscribe to the topics of your choice and in a few seconds Lazzyfeed will start sending you fresh content alerts. The alerts happen automatically in real-time; you do not need to refresh the page to view the new updates. As Lazzyfeed picks up the relevant content almost instantaneously, the latest information will come to you as soon as it is generated. So, while being at work, to locate the latest on your favourite subject, just move over to the Lazzyfeed window and you will find the latest news there.

Scoopler (http://www. scoopler.com/) is yet another service trying to get a foothold on this space. This service aggregates/indexes content from news web sites and services like Twitter, Delicious and the like.

Icerocket ( http://www.icerocket.com/), the good old blog search engine is also trying to grab a piece of the booming real-time search market pie (via its option ‘BigBuz’). A highlight of the service is the ‘auto refresh’ feature that allows the search results page to be refreshed automatically at specified intervals.

Samepoint ( http://www.samepoint.com/) and Sency ( http://www.sency.com/) are some other contenders worth watching.

Of course, mainstream search engines are also not ignoring the live Web. Recently Google has enhanced its search features to tap into the real-time Web content. Google’s new feature called ‘Show Options’ allows you to refine/view the search output in multiple ways. You can restrict the output to links that are updated past hour, past 24-hours, past week and the like.

Bingtweets (http://bingtweets.com/), the service that lets you search both Twitter and Bing simultaneously is yet another application worth a mention in this regard.

Wikipedia search

Wikipedia has become a significant resource for finding information of different topics. It is likely that Wikipedia database contains several articles on a subject. A search service that can collect all the articles pertaining to one theme would certainly be useful. SmartWiki search ( http://www.smartwikisearch.com/) the service that searches for articles with similar words is an apt application to try in this regard.

Watch movies on-line

After a few hours of hectic work, many of us long for a short diversion to refresh. Of course, these days no need to move away from your computer if it is Net enabled. You can comfortably watch movies, listen to music and socialise with friends. If you are looking for another diversion avenue, take a look at the on-line movie site, QuickSilverscreen (http://quicksilverscreen.com/), where you can watch a variety of movies for free.

Izarc: Archival software

We know that files/folders are compressed/archived in a variety of formats such as zip, rar, arj and so on. Archival tools (like winzip) help us decrypt such compressed files. Izarc ( http://www.izarc.org/index.html) is one such tool worth a mention. This free tool can be used to decrypt files in a wide range of formats that include zip, rar, tz and tar.

J. Murali can be contacted at: jmurali@gmail.com