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Google spotlights real-time search engine

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Google has given its Twitter-inspired "real-time" search results their very own webpage. Previously, the search and ads giant served up such ultra-fresh links alongside all its other results, but it's now providing a dedicated portal for those seeking stuff recently posted to Twitter, Facebook, other "social" services, blogs, and news sites.

"When we first introduced our real-time search features last December, we focused on bringing relevance to the freshest information on the web," the company said in a Thursday blog post. "Our goal was to provide real-time content from a comprehensive set of sources, integrated right into your usual search results. Today, we’re making our most significant enhancements to date, giving real-time information its own home and more powerful tools to help you find what you need."

You can visit the new real-time results page here (http://www.google.com/realtime). If you can't reach the page, it should be available soon. Google is gradually rolling the service out to all users.

Among other things, the page lets you sort results according to location. "You can use geographic refinements to find updates and news near you, or in a region you specify," the company says. "So if you’re traveling to Los Angeles this summer, you can check out tweets from Angelenos to get ideas for activities happening right where you are."

There's also a "conversation" view designed for following ongoing discussions on the 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 organize the tweets from oldest to newest and indent so you quickly see how the conversation developed."

And the page dovetails with Google Alerts, which will automatically email you when info containing certain keywords is posted to the web.

Google offers a video describing the service here:

Google pays for access to the Twitter "firehose", feeding the startup's endless stream of posts straight into its search engine, just as Microsoft does. Before these deals were inked, there was rampant speculation that either Google or Microsoft would actually acquire Twitter, which offers its own (clunky) search interface — or acquire one of the myriad startups that introduced real-time search engines amidst the Twitter frenzy that engulfed the interwebs in 2009.

Instead, Google and Microsoft have tackled real-time search on their own. And it only makes sense. The merits of posting to Twitter are questionable. But searching the thing can be quite useful — if you can separate the wheat from the crap. ®

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