Earlier this year, Google acquired the patents for a real time search engine called Wowd (whose development started in 2009). As opposed to other search engines, Wowd relies on the use of a plugin people need to install locally to help the engine to identify news, trends, popular topics and visited pages.
The result of the acquisition is in a new Wood home page that says the team decided to pursue new opportunities. It's not clear whether the team is now laying down on some sandy beach at the Bahamas or working for Google.
What's would this mean for Google and the SEO market?
Up to date, Google is - I guess - tracking the clicked links on their properties to inform the bot and refine results (aka personalized search).
With the Wowd acquisition, several scenarios are likely to happen. Google may decide to pursue the development as it is (very unlikely) or to use the - more artificially powered - logic behing the engine and further develop their products. Another possible approach would be the one of Google using this approach so to use their panellist (Quality raters) to collect anonymous navigation patterns for compiling stats and / or further contribute to the data aggregation provided by service like Google Trends.
However, with Google Toolbar and Chrome already automatically transmitting information to Google, the latter seems the less usable scenario.
Totally appreciate that everything in this article is a mere speculation, so please allow me some time to dig for more information. Stay tuned for any news.