Google upgrades search with real-time results

The Internet giant announces a partnership with Twitter and highlights the importance of social-networking in the competitive search business.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Reuters) -- Google Inc. has revamped its search engine to allow results to be refreshed with up-to-the-second data increasingly churned out by the new crop of real-time Web products.

The move to integrate real-time search results directly into Google's flagship Web search product comes nearly two months after the company announced a partnership to license data form microblogging service Twitter.

It also underscores the importance of real-time data like social media in the increasingly competitive Internet search business, which Google currently dominates. Microsoft announced partnerships with Twitter and social networking site Facebook in October to provide real time search results.

In addition to the 140-character messages generated by Twitter users, Google said Monday its search engine will soon be able to retrieve certain status messages from users of Facebook and News Corp.'s (NWS, Fortune 500) MySpace.

The company would not say whether the partnerships involved any financial terms.

"I would say that real time search is the natural evolution of universal search," Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, said at an event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Mayer said that Google was not currently selling keyword ads alongside real-time search results, and said the company was currently focused on perfecting the consumer experience with real-time search.

Google announced a variety of other search innovations during the event, including a Japanese-language voice search product that allows Japanese speakers to say a query into a cell phone. The product was previously available in English and Mandarin Chinese.

Google also announced an experimental product dubbed Google Goggles which allows users of a cell phone to take pictures of products with a phone's camera and retrieve search results about the particular product.

The company said it has introduced 33 different search innovations in the past 67 days.

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) is the top search engine in the United States with a search-query share of about 65%, compared with Yahoo Inc's (YHOO, Fortune 500) 18% share, according to comScore. Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), the No. 3 ranked search engine, has increased its share in recent months to roughly 10%.
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