Page last updated at 00:10 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Google includes real-time data in search results

By Maggie Shiels, Technology reporter
BBC News, Silicon Valley

real time search
Google's real-time search feed can be found at Google.com/trends

Google has launched real-time search to give users access to up-to-the-second information.

The search giant said it will draw real-time data from over a billion pages on the web.

The new feature will also include updates from Twitter and the social networks of MySpace and Facebook.

"Information is being created at a pace I have never seen before and in this environment, seconds matter," said Google fellow Amit Singhal.

At an event staged at the Computer History Museum in California, the company said this was the first time that any search engine has integrated the real-time web into its results page.

"There is so much information being generated out there that getting you relevant information is the key to the success of a product like this. It's all about relevance, relevance, relevance," said Mr Singhal.

Technical feat

The Silicon Valley company said the feature was now live and would take a couple of days to be rolled out across the world. Updates from Twitter will be included right away, while those from Facebook and MySpace are not expected to be integrated into results until the new year.

Google real time search on mobile
Real-time search will also be available on phones

The real-time stream of data will be shown within Google's normal results page.

The feature will also be available on smart phones, such as the iPhone and those running Google's Android operating system.

Google would not be drawn on the financial details of the deals it has done with Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.

Facebook has publicly stated it is not making money on this collaboration and that the updates it will give Google come from the public profile pages that can be seen by anybody on the web.

From a technical standpoint, the company said this was a landmark event in the world of search.

dot.life
I'm not sure how much wine was drunk in the process of coming up with a name for this feature, but you certainly have to be sober to say Google Goggles a few times in a row
Maggie Shiels
BBC's tech reporter

"This is a technical marvel, getting all these updates in seconds, making them searchable right after they are posted and making them available so that anyone in the world can find them," said Google's vice-president of search Marissa Mayer.

"The updates (on Twitter) are so truthful and so in the moment. That is a really, really powerful part of this. Are you at this event right now? Are you on this ski slope right now? And because of that 'right now' element of it , this is hugely valuable data," Ms Mayer told BBC News.

Twitter founder Biz Stone told reporters the company was "super excited to be doing this with Google. Relevance, relevance, relevance - they are good at it, we're not," he said.

Competition drive

Reaction to Google's announcement has been largely positive in the blogosphere.

"It looks really great and is a next step in search," said Bas van den Beld at Searchcowboys.com.

Screengrab of Bing Twitter search, Microsoft
Microsoft has also done a deal to show Twitter's public updates feed

"The announcement signals an aggressive push by Google to maintain its mantle as search-innovation leader amid unaccustomed pressure from rivals," said Ryan Singel from Wired.com

Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand said with Microsoft pulling out the stops with its own Bing search engine, Google needed to show it had its eye on the prize.

"From the PR standpoint it would not have been helpful to be a leading information resource and have people pointing out that you don't have certain kinds of information, especially when you have a rival like Bing cutting deals and diligently going after Google," Mr Sullivan told BBC News.

Google has around 65% of the search market while Microsoft's Bing which has just done a deal with Yahoo commands nearly 30%.

Computer vision

The search giant also unveiled Google Goggles, a new visual search feature that lets consumers use a picture instead of keywords as the search query.

The tool compares the image users have taken with Google's database to return relevant information.

"In the nature of computer vision we are at the beginning here and the technology is just getting underway," said Google's vice-president of engineering, Vic Gundotra.

"This today marks the beginning of this visual journey. We are at the cusp of a an entire new computing era where devices will help us explore the world around us."

The feature will be available on the Android platform.



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