CollectaEDIT: Unfortunately, as of June 1, 2011, Collecta has shut down its real-time search service. But all may not be lost; Collecta has indicated that it plans to work with a variety of organizations (including United Way crisif relief projects) to open source its software.

Released earlier today, the Collecta widget allows you to embed real-time search of what people are posting on Twitter, blog posts, comments, news feeds and the like.  What this means for you is that on your site you can embed real-time discussions of topics relevant to whatever your page is displaying, to view the very latest up-to-date information about those topics.

Results are both useful and irrelevant; for example, when searching for PMP, my Collecta feed displayed both a job opportunity for a project management professional in Boston, and an instance where someone had mispelled “pump” in their tweet. The quality of your results will largely depend on the string of text you search for – searching for #PMP instead of PMP, or searching for Project Management, might have improved my results.

I’m particularly interested in Collecta as three friends of mine, with whom I used to develop open source software, have been working diligently on this project since near its inception.  It’s been a lot of fun seeing Collecta grow from not much more than an idea, to a significant real-time search tool rapidly growing in popularity.

The following is a working example of the widget, featuring real-time search results for International Business.  If you want to make your own widget to embed on your site, you can create your instances on the Collecta website.  If you blog using WordPress, there is also a WordPress plug-in for Collecta available.