The ChristmasCrunch nearly real-time web event

01 Dec 2009

On the 15th of December I’m going to the ChristmasCrunch. It looks like a really good event with Iain Dodsworth and James Whittaker of TweetDeck giving the keynote on “Where the biggest realtime desktop application goes next” (I know where I'm hoping it goes. See below). Other presentations include Jenni Lees of Festbuzz, Marco Kaiser of Seesmic, Mario Menti of Twitterfeed, Mark Rock of AudioBoo, Nick Halstead of Tweetmeme, Daniel Tenner of Woobius, Willian Fischer of Twitter Jobsearch and Tim Morgan of Mint Digital. And if that’s not enough there’s also a startup pitch (startup pitches - grrrr...) and an after party.

My main interest in this event is to see if anybody is going to start delivering a “truly real-time” experience to users. Will TweetDeck still be making polling requests to the various services it uses to check if any more data is available or will they move to using PUSH technology? Are other companies going to start adopting PUSH to give the user a truly real-time web experience?

I’ve already mentioned my opinion time and time and time again that what we presently see as the real-time web isn’t in fact giving any of us a truly real-time experience, and this won’t be the case until data is pushed to us in real-time. If we have to actively check to see if there is new data available then how can anybody claim that we are receiving data in real-time? As soon as the new data is available we should not only be informed about that new data, but also given it.

Let me use Google search as an example: Google is getting really good at almost instantly picking up new content on the web – what everybody is calling the “real-time web” experience. I’ve also observed that it looks like they’ve started to rank new content higher, so they are really embracing and valuing the freshness of information. If I were to go to and search for “Real-Time Rich Internet Applications” I’d get a number of relevant and potentially fresh results.

[caption id="attachment_581" align="alignnone" caption="Real Time Rich Internet Application Google Search Results"]Real Time Rich Internet Application Google Search Results[/caption]

If just after Google returns these results to me Robert Scoble decides that RTRIAs are the next big and publishes a blog post on the subject, leading to a number of other blog posts and tweets, I’d be none the wiser until I resubmit my search to see the updated results. Google would no doubt pick up this new, high profile bloggers, blog post and it would be available, maybe even top in the search listings, when I next searched for “Real-Time Rich Internet Applications”. But, I’ve done my search and I’d believe that I have got the most relevant information available at that moment so my search results would be out of date.

Until companies move away from the old PULL web model and move to PUSH we are going to be stuck with a nearly-real-time web experience. I hope I get the opportunity to ask a few people at the ChristmasCrunch about when, not if, they will be moving to a PUSH model to deliver a truly real-time web experience to their users.