In a bit of a surprise move, Google has opted to shut down its Realtime search feature, at least for the moment. CNet's News.com reports that the move is due to the fact that an agreement between Google and the Twitter social networking service has apparently expired. The Realtime search feature on Google was designed to search on Twitter and other similar sites.
The Realtime search page now links to a 404 error page message. Ironically, Google's own Twitter page for the Realtime search feature also has a message about the shutdown. It states, "We've temporarily disabled google.com/realtime. We're exploring how to incorporate Google+ into this functionality, so stay tuned." Google+ is the social networking service that Google has just recently launched and is still in the early stages of development.
The Search Engine Land web site also has some more info about the Realtime shut down via a statement from Google. The statement says that an agreement between Google and Twitter that allowed Google to access Twitter message via the special feed expired on Saturday. It added, "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." While Twitter was the most popular feed used by the Realtime service it also accessed other web sites and services like MySpace, Google News, Facebook fan pages and more. Google's statements did not give a reason why the agreement with Twitter was not extended.