Google Real Time Search, Wonder Wheel & More Go Offline

Jul 4, 2011 • 9:33 am | comments (40) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google 404 Bot ImageOn Sunday, we posted two stories at Search Engine Land that were significant. They included Google Realtime Search Goes Missing and The Google Wonder Wheel Is Gone.

Yes, Google features are dropping left and right and without warning, notification or reason.

Real Time Search Gone:

Google's real time search launched in 2009 and added some significant features in 2010 but as of yesterday, no - not due to the new design (at least I am 99% sure the feature was there Friday afternoon), Google killed off the Real Time search feature. As Vanessa Fox explained at Search Engine Land 404s, the "Realtime" option on the left menu (sometimes called "Updates") was removed, Realtime results are gone from the news results but the Twitter account, help pages and so on are all still active. But my URLs I track for real time search queries are also dead or redirecting. Soon after the story, Google sent SELand a statement and tweeted:

We've temporarily disabled We're exploring how to incorporate Google+ into this functionality, so stay tuned.

Update: Danny received an update from Google claiming their Twitter deal expired, which is the real reason the service went offline.

In fact, I asked one of the lead engineers on Google Real Time search back on June 30th how Google + will be integrated with Google Real Time Search and he said "We are working on it." But at that time, I really think Real Time search was working fine.

Anyway, I will miss it while it is gone and I am looking forward to it's renewed launch.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Wondering Where Wonder Wheel Is?

If you are wondering where Google's Wonder Wheel search refinement feature went, you are not alone. There is a thread asking that question at Google Web Search Help and Gary covered it at Search Engine Land. Google told us:

As part of the initial stage of our redesign that we'll be rolling out over the next few months, we've removed the Wonder Wheel search tool. For users looking for other search refinements, there are several tools available in the left-hand column, and we're working to incorporate more in the future.

So to me, it seems like it is gone, maybe gone forever.

click for full size

Image Search By Dimension Gone:

You use to be able to search by a specific dimension in Google Image Search. No longer. Now you have to pick from a predefined list. We have complaints at a couple Google Web Search Help threads. One user said:

I don't know why when I go search for an image, the Image exact size search feature is disappeared. Why? If this is really a concern, webmaster, please fix it as soon as possible.

Google has not responded to this specific issue yet but I assume it is part of the same reason. A new design and new focus.

I am sure there are many more features missing, do share any you find below and I hope to have a huge list complied here and Search Engine Land in the future.

Previous story: Pic: Negative Links In Google Webmaster Tools


Zsombor Markus

07/04/2011 01:59 pm

Wonder wheel was awesome for many reasons.  Not a mainstream feature, but will be missed. 

Kp Anoop

07/04/2011 02:01 pm

wonderwheel and realtime were great features under google..hope they come back soon...


07/04/2011 02:40 pm

We've been using Wonder Wheel extensively to ensure we connect with what our customers are searching for... HUGE bummer it is gone for now...hope it comes back soon, and even better than before!!!

Ilian Iliev

07/04/2011 03:21 pm

With all my respect to Google and their products in the last months they have build a reputation of company that cut services without notifying users for this. The ones that currently comes in my mind are Google Maps RSS feed, Live Search, Whonder Wheel. I know these are free services. And I know that probably in the license agreement it is written that they can be stopped without notification but they have a wide usage. And many of us use them in live applications(you can imagine the result from this) so please Google, next time when you decide/plan to stop a service just notify us. Thanks in advance.


07/04/2011 04:27 pm

I've been wondering where the hell did realtime search go. So typical of Google to drop/disable it without warning!

Athar Basha

07/04/2011 07:05 pm

Real Time Search was helpful to me to know the current updates on a particular it has been gone.. will they be turning it on back?


07/04/2011 07:21 pm

As opposed to complaining they took the Wonder Wheel away, what other suggestions for keyword mapping do you all have? We need to move on and come up with new tools. I like


07/04/2011 07:35 pm

The search by dimension was just moved to the "advanced search" page.

Yvette Bordley

07/04/2011 10:36 pm

Thanks Barry - I was looking for wonder wheel tonight & tried everything, changing preferences turning Google instant off ! Would really welcome a post on alternatives. I loved the way wonder wheel worked visually much like touch graph - has that gone too? Darn better check, must set up a Google alert unless that's going too? ;-)


07/05/2011 02:47 am

Me too, missing wonder wheel, it used to be one of my commonly used function. Hope it will come back soon. 


07/05/2011 08:19 am

I'm missing the "around here"  button in google maps - why do they just leave it alone - it makes me mad!!!!


07/05/2011 10:16 am

Oh My...what a  bummer about wonder wheel, actually "related searches " works just as well if not better because you can actually copy the results. I hope that stays active. Real time was awesome...sorry to see that go. You know what tool is great?... Google squared. Thanks for the update.The Adz Dr

Phil de Gruchy

07/05/2011 04:53 pm

RIP Wonder Wheel, personally I thought you were great. :(

Telebrands Joe

07/05/2011 08:56 pm

Wow. I can't believe they just took Wonder Wheel down and failed to give us any notification about it. It is an incredibly useful tool. Anyone have ideas for a similar tool to switch over to?

Vineet Singh

07/06/2011 09:36 am

"Similar pages" option has been removed form the new Google SERP's. Now we can only see  "Cached" link alongside the URL.

SEO Company

07/06/2011 03:45 pm

The wonder wheel was a great tool It is such a shame its now gone :(


07/06/2011 07:16 pm

I thought that I was crazy for a minute... searching for the wonder wheel. Thanks a lot google.


07/06/2011 08:17 pm

Thanks for the update!  Why on earth would Google remove such a great tool?  I liked the visual wheel.  Hope the Wonder Wheel gets revived soon. I need it now not in a few months!  


07/07/2011 02:22 am

Wow, this is amazing.  I can't believe google just did that. ^^ Thanks for the post buddy, I recently used this tool on my blog at Wonder wheel was one of my favorites, google please bring it back. Thanks!


07/07/2011 02:25 am

Sorry, I meant

Wei Huang

07/07/2011 04:16 pm

I am usually the last person to find out about anything, but I noticed one of my favorite tool - the google wonderful wheel has gone missing. I really liked it. It's a shame that they yank it off just like that. 

Weisly Huang

07/07/2011 04:18 pm

Bring back my wonderful wonder wheel

Jennifer hodgson

07/07/2011 07:43 pm

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, Woooooooooooondeeeeeeeeeeeeer Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel, why, why, why :(

Lianda Ludwig

07/08/2011 03:20 pm

This is really a bummer- are there similar search tools on any of the other search engines?


07/09/2011 03:31 pm

Looks like still has some of the features such as Image-search for specific file sizes;,iszw:300,iszh:250&tbm=isch&prmd=ivnsu&source=lnt&sa=X&ei=rA8WTr3fOIb2swPGq7HZDQ&ved=0CBEQpwUoBQ&biw=1247&bih=1471&cad=b&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&emsg=NCSR&noj=1&ei=JzUWTqiHMYT6swO1-ezGDQ Sure it's just a matter of time though


07/10/2011 09:11 am

I miss the wonder wheel... I use it every time I look for related searches. It's more useful to visualize search terms.

Nikhil Raj. R

07/10/2011 08:05 pm

I think Google Realtime Search will be relaunched soon. I have a new interesting topic. Google has lost its PageRank. Google PageRank is 9


07/11/2011 02:21 am

Seriously!!!!! Bring it Back!

Joshua Zamora

07/11/2011 03:10 am

Crap! I loved the Wonder Wheel! 

Kristina Kaganer

07/12/2011 03:17 pm

Wahhh Wahhh. I loved Wonder Wheel!


07/12/2011 11:41 pm

I am teaching a technology class and I was teaching them how effective the wonder wheel was sadly I could not find it.  Now that I know what happened to it, I wished they notified it on their webpage or emailed gmail users.  I really loved the Wonder Wheel.

David Newby

07/14/2011 02:00 pm

I just found out the Wonder Wheel is gone. How sad--you would think Google would take into consideration what its customers want and need. Wonder Wheel was big for a lot of things, including creating books [chapters, etc.]. 


07/14/2011 05:07 pm

I am sad as well but here are some work arounds I am using now. 1) - This helps me with keywords suggestions based on the top 10 body copy and the surrounding keywords. 2) Take the keyword that are three keyword phrases in length form and put them into this tool. It helps create a visual interpretation that we all loved about the wonder wheel. Hope this helps.

meta search engine

07/16/2011 08:15 pm

There are alternatives to Google wonderwheel, I came accross a list on the internet here are the highlights:- :- A Neat Visual Search Engine that Displays Results on Google, Yahoo and Bing simultananeously in a neat visual interface (great to search the web) :- This one is not very innovative just opens your search in several search engines.


07/18/2011 07:19 am

Wonder wheel was awesome to help my clients understand Adwords campaigns, how they work, and how people search for businesses. I guess Google will be loosing money now... at least from my company.

Drew Valentino

07/22/2011 05:32 pm

Twitter is now a major competitor (to Google+) - Enough said - bye bye Real time.


08/14/2011 04:38 am allows you to search 4 out 5 search engines between Google, Ask, Yahoo, Bing and AOL, all in one and you chose your 4 search engines.


02/16/2012 06:00 pm

google realtime is dead


04/10/2012 04:39 pm

Google is just TOO BIG for their own britches!


08/04/2012 09:23 am

image search by size is still there ...its just hidden...,mod%3D12&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=dekcUOvoGM7siQKv1YDYBw&biw=1280&bih=675&sei=eekcULq-CITeigKfp4HQDQ#q=golf&um=1&hl=en&newwindow=1&tbs=imgo:1,itp:lineart&tbm=isch&source=lnt&sa=X&ei=g-kcUMjRNe6VjALw-YHoAQ&ved=0CEIQpwUoBA&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=919392cb44565750&biw=1280&bih=675

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