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Google equips self for 'real-time' search

More than just Twitter. Really

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Last week, Microsoft unveiled all sorts of new stuff on the search engine known as Bing. Which means the Redmond obsessives at Google have spent the ensuing days desperately announcing as many of their own search thingys as they possible can.

This includes everything from 'personalizing' results pages when users aren't signed into its search engine, to a new site design that maximizes the company's Rainman-like obsession with homepage minimalism.

Today, the most-trumpeted Microsoft-battling addition is a so-called real-time search interface.

"We're introducing new features that bring your search results to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content from across the web. Now, immediately after conducting a search, you can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts published just seconds before," reads a blog post from Google fellow Amit Singhal.

"When they are relevant, we'll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page."

When you key in a search term, Google's results page may include a new sub-category dubbed "latest results," akin to existing sub-categories for news, videos, and music. You can also select a "latest" link on the left hand side of the page to view a full page of so-called real-time results.

"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," the company says. "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."

Google says it will roll out the new interface "in the next few days." It will be available globally - but only in English.

Previously, Google offered the ability to sort search results according to when they were posted. But the new interface automatically displays so-called real-time data, and Google is quite clear that it's focused on particular Web2.0rhea services, including not only Twitter and FriendFeed but also Facebook, MySpace, Jaiku, and Identi.ca.

That said, Google's "latest results" will also includes more traditional web results, including blogs posts, news stories, and the like. Naturally, Google is ranking these results according to its idea of relevancy.

In October, Google announced an agreement with Twitter to feed the startup's Web2.0rhea straight into its search engine. None too surprisingly, this deal was announced just hours after Microsoft announced a similar pact.

As one high-profile web CEO has told us: Everything Google does is done with an eye on Redmond. ®

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