Google launches real-time searching

10:41, December 09, 2009      

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Google has incorporated real-time results into its popular search engine in a move it hopes will head off some of the threat from young rivals such as Twitter and Facebook. The move also comes soon after Microsoft added real-time results to its Bing search engine.

Google believes the new development will bring users more up to date information as they scour the web for information. Over the next few days, anybody searching online using Google will see their traditional search results augmented by a string of constantly updating messages drawn from social networks, news sites and blogs.

The move is part of a wider push to make Google's search index even faster and more up to date, as people increasingly use services like Twitter to transmit information about events as they happen. Google executive Amit Singhal said that with more information being put on the web every day, it was vital that the company learned how to give users the most relevant results.

"Information is being posted at a pace I have never seen before," Singhal said, "In this information environment, seconds matter." As well as watching for developments on news sites, Google is working closely with Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to include updates from their users.

It is unclear whether there Google has paid for the ability to add results to its pages and the company would neither confirm nor deny if there was a financial relationship behinds its links with social networking sites.

The information will however prove useful to Internet users. "There's no doubt that it's good to have," said Danny Sullivan, a prominent observer of Google's activities, writing on his SearchEngineLand website. "It's incredibly difficult to be a leading information source and yet when there's an earthquake, people are instead turning to Twitter for confirmation faster than traditional news sources on Google can provide."

The company has also unveiled other experimental services which it hopes will enhance people's use of the Internet. One is called Google Goggles in which a picture of an item is uploaded for Google to identify. Vic Gundotra, the company's vice president of engineering, said there were already more than a billion items stored in the company's systems and that it was Google's ambition to refine object recognition. "Today marks the beginning of this journey," Gundotra said, "It's our goal to be able to visually identify any image."

Gundotra also announced a forthcoming translation product which would allow users to speak any phrase into a mobile phone and then translate it, almost instantly, into any one of a number of languages. The resulting phrase could then be spoken back by Google through the phone's speaker, potentially allowing travellers to use any high-end handset as a universal translation device. The first elements of the software maybe available in the first quarter of 2010.

"It takes one tenth of a second for light to travel around the world," said Google executive Amit Singhal, "At Google we will only be satisfied when that is the only barrier between you and information."

Source: Agencies
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