The real-time web is a set of technologies and practices that enable users to receive information as soon as it is published by its authors, rather than requiring that they or their software check a source periodically for updates.
Difference from real-time computing
The real-time web is fundamentally different from real-time computing since there is no knowing when, or if, a response will be received. The information types transmitted this way are often short messages, status updates, news alerts, or links to longer documents. The content is often "soft" in that it is based on the social web—people's opinions, attitudes, thoughts, and interests—as opposed to hard news or facts.
True-realtime web (an "alternate" model)
From another point of view, the real-time web consists in making the client interface (or the web side; or the web layer) of a web application, or a web site, to communicate continuously with the corresponding real-time server, during every user connection. As a fast pic of the client/server model, imagine each client object (each web module of the web GUI of an application) having its object class alive as a sub process (of its user session) in the server environment. In this scenario, the web is considered as the human entrance (interface) to the real-time environment: at each connected web URL, or Internet real-time zone, corresponds a different "front-end" web application. The real-time server acts as a logic network operating system for the programmable array of applications; handles the array of connected users for each application; attends for connections from real-world appliances and second level real-time servers. Applications behaviours and the intercommunication procedures between online services or applications, online users, and connected devices or appliances, are settled in the corresponding source code of each real-time service written in the real-time-interpreted programming language of the centric server.
As opposite to previous scenario, real-time web is exactly soft real-time computing: the round trip of a data ping-pong signal from the real-time server to the client must take about 1s to be considered real-time and not to be annoying for humans (or users) during their connections. About the dispute between social web and real-time web, we can say real-time web is social by default and it is not true the contrary (WEB-r comes before Web 2.0). The WEB-r model is called true-realtime web to highlight the differences with the defective (de facto) model of real-time web generally perceived. From the industry point of view, this model of (general) real-time Internet can also be defined as electronic web, that comes with the intrinsic meaning of not being limited to the web side of the Net, and with the direct reference to its server/rest-of-the-world perspective as a mechanism of a single clock.
The most successful examples of real-time web are Facebook's newsfeed and Twitter. This approach is being implemented in social networking, search, and news sites, which makes those experiences more like instant messaging. Early benefits include increased user engagement ("flow") and decreased server loads. Starting December 2009, Google introduced at the Computer History Museum their new real-time search features brought to Google search.
A problem created by the rapid pace and huge volume of information created by real-time web technologies and practices is finding relevant information. One approach, known as real-time search, is the concept of searching for and finding information online as it is produced. Advancements in web search technology coupled with growing use of social media enable online activities to be queried as they occur. A traditional web search crawls and indexes web pages periodically, returning results based on relevance to the search query. Google Real-Time Search was a feature of Google Search that went off-line on 2 July 2011.
- Wray, Richard (19 May 2009). "Google 'falling behind Twitter'". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- Stross, Randall (13 June 2009). "Hey, Just a Minute (or Why Google Isn't Twitter)". New York Times. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- Morrison, Scott (15 June 2009). "Internet Giants Look For Edge In Real-Time Search". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 June 2009.[dead link]
- Kirkpatrick, Marshall (22 September 2009). "Explaining the Real-Time Web in 100 Words or Less". ReadWriteWeb.