Google announced on Thursday that it has created a separate page for its real-time search feature, where users can view the most up-to-date search results from services like Facebook and (mostly) Twitter.
The search giant has been integrating real-time information into the body of its main search results since last December, after signing deals with Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.
This has meant that when somebody searches for a particular topic on Google they have received real-time updates from a variety of social media sites, as well as the usual list of search results
However, Google has now developed a standalone real-time search engine, which crawls the web for the most up-to-the moment search results, as well continuing to integrate real-time result into its main search results.
“Real time content is often one of the best sources of information about what is happening right now,” Google product manager Dylan Casey told AFP while introducing the new real-time search home page. “We are giving people more tools to drill down into these results.”
In the same manner that Google has search pages devoted to pictures or videos, the new one is tailored to comments, images or other public content fired off at online social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace.
“With the advent of these platforms it is easier for people to publish content, and there is more content on the Web,” Casey said.
“These tools make it easy for people to get fast access to that. Whether it is a movie that just opened or you see helicopters flying over, this shows what people are saying about that right now.”
The real-time home page adds features including being able to search based on location and being able to get “alerts” when anyone blogs, tweets, or otherwise comments online about selected topics, brands, or names.
Dylan Casey, a product manager at Google, wrote on the company’s blog: “On the new homepage you’ll find some great tools to help you refine and understand your results. First, you can use geographic refinements to find updates and news near you, or in a region you specify. So if you’re travelling to Los Angeles this summer, you can check out tweets from Angelenos to get ideas for activities happening right where you are.
“In addition, we’ve added a conversations view, making it easy to follow a discussion on the real-time web. Often a single tweet sparks a larger conversation of re-tweets and other replies, but to put it together you have to click through a bunch of links and figure it out yourself. With the new “full conversation” feature, you can browse the entire conversation in a single glance. We organise the tweets from oldest to newest and indent so you quickly see how the conversation developed.
“Finally, we’ve also added updates content to Google Alerts, making it easy to stay informed about a topic of your choosing. Now you can create an alert specifically for “updates” to get an email the moment your topic appears on Twitter or other short-form services. Or, if you want to manage your email volume, you can set alerts to email you once per day or week.”
Google real-time search features include being able to follow public conversations in online forums and being able to “playback” exchanges dating back to nearly the start of the year.
Google is working with Twitter to make its entire public archive available in a way that remains in synch with people deleting tweets or changing privacy settings on accounts at the microblogging service, according to Casey. [Google Realtime and Official Google Blog via Yahoo! News, Venture Beat]
Google sorts real-time search results based on many elements, including how many followers the writer has, how often the subject is being written about and how many times people are reposting messages.
“We’re trying to balance between recency in terms of delivering the most up-to-date and real-time results, and delivering the most quality results,” Mr. Casey said.