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Unformatted text preview: 10 EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES 46 TECHNOLOGY REVIEW MAY/JUNE 2010 spam, though thats an important part of it. People who search real-time data want the same quality, authority, and relevance that they expect when they perform tra- ditional Web searches. Nobody wants to drink straight from a fi re hose. Google dominates traditional search by meticulously tracking links to a page and other signals of its value as they accu- mulate over time. But for real-time search, this doesnt work. Social-networking messages can lose their value within min- utes of being written. Google has to gauge their worth in seconds, or even microseconds. Google is notoriously tight-lipped about its search algorithms, but Singhal explains a few of the vari- ables the company uses to analyze what he calls chat- ter. Some are straightfor- ward. A Twitter user who attracts many followers, and whose tweets are often retweeted by other users, can generally be assumed to have more authority. Similarly, Face- book users gain authority as their friends multiply, particularly if those friends also have many friends. Other signals are more subtle. A sud- den spike in the prevalence of a word in a message stream earthquake, saymay indicate an important event. If a message indicate an important event....
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