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December 8, 2009

The hitchhikers guide to Copenhagen using Google’s real-time search

Not to be out-manoeuvred by its search rivals, Google has announced its very own “Real Time Search”, which will focus on social, mobile and real time. This is due to be rolled out over their search engines very soon.

For a quick peek into its usefulness, I took a look at the Copenhagen Climate Summit as an example.

In the twenty minutes or so I had real-time results updating, there was slurry of entries, including:
•    Bangladesh to seek 15 percent of any climate fund – Reuters
•    Copenhagen climate summit issues: money – Telegraph
•    US rock star sings to save shrunk Kashmiri glaciers – Xinhua
•    They opened climate talks in Copenhagen today and not a single polar bear showed up. If they’re not worrying, why should I? – StephenAtHome

But topping the bill was a story published on the Telegraph’s website – Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges.

Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen’s largest limousine company, said that during the “summit to save the world”, the total number of limos in Copenhagen had already broken the 1,200 barrier. She remarked: “We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand…We’re having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden.”

What’s even more alarming is that the number of electric and hybrid cars totals a paltry five: “We don’t have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it’s very Danish.” A very Danish sense of humour is it, to have organised a critical environmental event that prices out alternative energy? Anyway, the result is that the conference, including participants’ travel, will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the sum produced by a small European city over the same period.

Not to be discouraged in their efforts to avoid the next Armageddon, Denmark is expecting up to 140 private jets, which is so far above its capacity to cope,  the planes will have to be parked next door in Sweden. To soften the effect, perhaps the limos being driven in can give hitchhiking participants a ride?

Unlikely though, as in attendance will be 15,000 delegates and officials, 5,000 journalists, 98 world leaders, Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince Charles, who are said to be already mulling over their sustainable scallops, foie gras and sculpted caviar wedges. The Great Unwashed (a term coined by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, describing the protagonists), will be tactfully located elsewhere carrying out a “funeral of the day” to mark their deep contempt for the Great Satan of all “heatist” concepts, economic growth.

According to the Telegraph, “Denmark has taken delivery of its first-ever water-cannon…plus sweeping new police powers. The authorities have been proudly showing us their new temporary prison, 360 cages in a disused brewery, housing 4,000 detainees.” Sounds promising.

To top it all, Ed Miliband, Britain’s Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, delivered a speech in which he said: “If Martin Luther King had come along and said ‘I have a nightmare’, people would not have followed him.” But no doubt they will follow those that declare: “I have a limousine (because my private jet’s parked in Sweden)”. At least the billowing hot air that will fire the conference’s central heating systems this week will be personally sustainable.

But I digress. This story is surely about real-time results and how useful this addition is to Google search. I have to say that Spiked Online’s Tim Brown, who once remarked Twitter was “…a seething mass of self-affirming emotional incontinence…” was mostly filtered out and the information was relevant to subject. And after pressing the pause-button to stem the flow and analyse the results, the entries came variously from the Twitter accounts of the major dailies.

Google’s “Real Time Search” does, after all, seem rather useful.


John Sylvester is the media director of V9 Design & Build and an expert in search engine optimization and web marketing strategies.