Update:A couple hours after this post was published, Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker shared this statement with us:
We’ve temporarily disabled google.com/realtime. We’re exploring how to incorporate our recently launched Google+ project into this functionality going forward, so stay tuned.
Below is the original article….
* * * * *
As I noted a couple of days ago, Google has started rolling out user interface changes to many of their products, including search. Google plans to continuing evolving the UI throughout the summer, and in some cases, that includes removing functionality. Presumably, Google is removing features that weren’t used often or are being replaced with other functionality. Earlier today, we noted that Google confirmed removal of the Wonder Wheel, which, while never the most dazzling in graphic design, was pretty cool for visually exploring related topics (both for searchers and for researchers).