Google socialises search with real-time results

8 Dec 2009

Google has completely socialised its search abilities by adding in real-time search features that provide search results along with live updates from people on Twitter and FriendFeed as well as blogs and news published seconds before.

“When they are relevant, we’ll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search-results page,” said Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow.

“Try searching for your favourite TV show, sporting event or the latest development on a recent government bill. Whether it’s an eyewitness tweet, a breaking news story or a fresh blog post, you can find it on Google right after it’s published on the web.

“Our real-time search enables you to discover breaking news the moment it’s happening, even if it’s not the popular news of the day, and even if you didn’t know about it beforehand. For example, in the screen shot (pictured), the big story was about GM’s stabilising car sales, which shows under ‘News results.’

“Nonetheless, thanks to our powerful real-time algorithms, the ‘Latest results’ feature surfaces another important story breaking just seconds before: GM’s CEO stepped down. Click on ‘Latest results’ or select ‘Latest’ from the search options menu to view a full page of live tweets, blogs, news and other web content scrolling right on Google.

Filtering possible

Singhal said users can also filter their results to see only “Updates” from micro-blogs like Twitter, FriendFeed, Jaiku and others.

“Latest results and the new search options are also designed for iPhone and Android devices when you need them on the go, be it a quick glance at changing information like ski conditions or opening-night chatter about a new movie — right when you’re in line to buy tickets.”

Singhal also revealed that Google Trends is graduating from the Google Labs and “hot topics” will show the most common topics people are publishing to the web in real time.

“Our real-time search features are based on more than a dozen new search technologies that enable us to monitor more than a billion documents and process hundreds of millions of real-time changes each day.

“Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our new partners that we’re announcing today: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku and — along with Twitter, which we announced a few weeks ago.

“The new features will be rolling out in the next few days and will be available globally in English. You can try them out today by visiting Google Trends and clicking on a ‘hot topic,’ which in most cases will bring you to a search-results page with the new real-time feature,” Singhal said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years