We got a great response to our recent article looking through the lessons learned
from the MIT team's quick victory in DARPA's "find the red balloons" challenge. JP Werlin pointed out one additional interesting point however: despite this being a task involving searching, finding and aggregating information, Google search was useless for this particular project
Google didn't matter because Google is a file cabinet of the past. Yes, we know that supposedly this week Google Real Time Search is launching and it will be the next great thing. We also know there are Google Alerts that help us stay current. But there was no real time search or alert that helped us on Saturday, December 5, 2009. Now Google documents were great (we used Spreadsheets) and Google Maps with Street View was indispensable. But Google's main function, it reason for being, was 100% irrelevant. Google is great for looking at yesterday. In its current form, Google is a complete failure for looking at today. And when I mean today I do not mean today's Wall Street Journal or Techcrunch as arguably those are both looking at history as well. I am talking about what is happening right now, this moment. And do you want to know the best place to find out what is happening right now? Twitter Search.
Perhaps that changes (as noted) with Google's real time search offering, but it is notable. Google positions itself as wanting to be the place where you can find any relevant information, but that information is backwards looking.