There was a time when Bitly was a simple short URL shortening service… And a pretty popular one… The problem was that Bitly didn’t want to be JUST a simple URL shortening service… So it transformed into a some sort of social service… But apparently, that wasn’t enough too…
Expanding on the open broad roads of the web is intoxicating, and even addictive (just ask other junkies like Google, Yahoo, Aol and Amazon), so why settle for one area when there are so many additional delicious pieces of pie out there? Especially when it comes to pies that no other company manged to really taste yet, like social-search?
Oh yes, Bitly is also taking a shot at the holy grail of nowadays internet void, in which many already tried (or still tries) to breach and failed (or still failing). Google has an ongoing miserable attempt in this field, Bing is in the middle of its own social-search journey and even Twitter wants to savor the forbidden fruit.
But Bitly thinks it might have broken the secret equation that it defines as “attention ranking engine” but you normal folks can just call it Realtime. You can try Realtime for yourself after you grant it access to your Bitly account and here’s how it looks like for all you lazy fellows:
Pretty clean and undistracted design, right? The user can filter the results based on:
- Keyword (naturally).
- Pretty comprehensive list of topics (includes “disasters”, “sexuality” and “weapons”).
- Social network- Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Ameblo and LinkedIn (ouch Google+).
- Country (local your social).
- Domain (“MyCoolWebsiteAndNothingMore.com”).
- Language (Solo en “espanol” por favor).
After hitting the magnifying glass icon to search, the Realtime engine will supposedly display the top 10 (and sadly, ONLY top 10) most popular Bitly’s shortened URLs for the current moment based on clicks per minute out from your priorly defined social network(s).
Although the idea of showing results based on trending clickable Bitly’s links is pretty great, the obvious disadvantage is that it also brings a shortage of links. As impressively popular Bitly may be right now, I would dare to say that only a small fraction of links on the social networks is being generated by Bitly.
That leads to the inevitable question, why would people want to search for stories from the social web when only a tiny chunk of information is at their disposal? That said, without any real alternative for a search of stories from the social media, it just might work… (for a while at least)
Welcome to the enchanted social-search forest, Bitly, to which many have already entered but no one has yet to return…