updated 12:25 pm EDT, Tue July 5, 2011
Timing and shape of return is unclear
Google has suddenly and quietly stopped its Realtime Search service. The move comes after the two-year contract with Twitter, the primary content provider for this particular search engine, expired. There is no indication if a new arrangement is under discussion at this time.
Google Realtime Search let users search both current and historic feeds from social media streams including Twitter, Facebook fan page updates, and MySpace updates. Twitter was the largest source for the search engine and gave access to its "firehose," or the full, unrestricted feed from Twitter as it appears.
Google had signed a contract for access to Twitter's updates in October, 2009. Twitter especially relied on Google Realtime Search to help users find tweets that were over a few days old. The contract ended last Saturday.
Google has indicated that it will relaunch Realtime Search at some point in the future (as yet unspecified). When it does, it will be integrated with Google's Google+ information service. In the mean time, Twitter feeds might still be captured by Google's normal Web crawling activities.
Twitter update information is still available from other targeted search vehicles including Bing's Social Search, and TOPSY. [via Search Engine Land]