Over on John Battelle's Searchblog, there's an interesting post on what might happen when search catches up with the realtime web - when you can ask not just what's on the Web in the static pages, but what people are doing right now He thinks it'll be very significant when we get to search across all those Web services like Twitter at once.
I posted a comment there - repeated here, in the interests of discussion...
"It's interesting to think how journalism is evolving in terms of the real-time versus the static web (although I'm not sure exactly how to define either to exclude the other). How much journalism these days is spotting patterns form in the real-time web? How much is mining the static web? (There is another form of journalism, which involves spending time in the real world, but it may be falling out of fashion.)
Journalism was the original search engine, albeit with a rather baroque query interface. It tends to adopt the most efficient use of people and technology to produce good data, being a notoriously Darwinist entity, and it's quite good at adapting quickly - hasn't taken long for blogs to make their mark. So I think it's a good thing to track if you want to sniff out utility on the Web - after all, journalism is the first draft of history.
I'm not sure that there's a huge great wobbly lump of wondermoney sitting at the end of the real-time web search rainbow. And if there is, I wonder if it's much bigger than the one sitting a day further down the line, where the massive outpouring of us auto-digitising hominids has been filtered by the mechanisms we have, more or less, in place now.
Google's big problem isn't that it can't be Google a day earlier, it's that it can't be cleverer about imparting meaning to what it filters. For now, and until AI gets a lot better, the new worth of the Web is how we humans organise, rank and connect it. The good stuff takes time and thought, and so far nobody's built an XML-compliant thought accelerator."