Google unleashes perhaps its most significant search engine enhancements in years, adding real-time search results aggregated from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace and turning on its Google Goggles mobile visual search application in Google Labs. The new technologies come as Google is defending its 65 percent market share from renewed attacks by Microsoft Bing, which thanks to a just-consummated deal with Yahoo will give Microsoft control of almost 30 percent of the search market. Google also adds Search by Voice in Japanese, and What's Nearby, a location-based feature on Google Maps for Android 1.6+ devices.
Google Dec. 7 unleashed perhaps its most significant search engine
enhancements in years, adding real-time search results aggregated from Facebook,
Twitter and MySpace and turning on its Google Goggles mobile visual search application in
Google Fellow Amit Singhal, the company's resident expert for search
algorithms, and Vic Gundotra, the vice president of engineering leading
Google's mobile charge, unveiled the new technologies at a media event at the Computer
in Mountain View, Calif.
Google is currently defending its 65 percent market share from renewed
attacks by Microsoft's Bing search engine. Microsoft just consummated a deal with Yahoo that will
give Microsoft control of almost 30 percent of the search market.
Key among the new features is a real-time search stream that speedily
indexes Web content and surfaces results for users. Singhal said this will
include all content from popular microblogging service Twitter, MySpace and
Facebook's FriendFeed property, as well as public profile content from
What is real-time search, Google style? Users searching for information on
events that just happened or who want to know what people are writing about
something right now can search Google and find Twitter tweets and
just-published news articles and blog posts on the topic from all over the Web.
Users may also click on "Latest results" or select
"Latest" from the search options menu to view a full page of live
tweets, blogs, news and other content scrolling right on Google. Users can also
filter results to see only "Updates" from microblogs like Twitter,
FriendFeed and Jaiku. Latest results and the new search options are also
accessible via Apple iPhones and Android devices.
As with most features in Google's core search, the real-time search feature
is very simple, even if the math behind it is mind-boggling. Real-time search
results appear in the middle of the search results page in a small box with a
scroll bar that lets users go back to any tweets or other results that streamed
by too quickly to click on. There is also a pause button that lets users put
the stream on hold.
The new features will be rolling out in the next few days and will be
available globally in English. Users who find they can't access the features directly
by going to Google may be able to access them here, or
by navigating to Google
Trends and clicking on any of the hot topics.
"Google's real-time search is Google's relevance technology meeting the
real-time Web," Singhal said. "Relevance is the foundation of this
product ... When they are relevant, we'll rank these latest results to show the
freshest information right on the search results page."
During a demo, Google Product Manager Dylan Casey searched on "Obama"
and saw real-time results about the president. Users can try this for themselves
by searching for Obama on Google.com.
In another example, Casey searched for Google Goggles, the mobile visual
search application in Google Labs that Gundotra had announced less than an hour
before. Tweets and blog posts about the application streamed in.
"This is the first time ever any search engine has integrated the
real-time Web into the results page," Singhal said.
Singhal may have forgotten that several niche search engines, such as Collecta and CrowdEye, offer real-time results. Also,
Microsoft created Bing Twitter, a special site that surfaces Twitter
tweets in real time.
So this is not exactly a new concept, but the fact that the leading search
engine is now offering this for all of its search results is impressive and
underscores the company's determination to defend its turf from upstart Bing,
as well as to keep from becoming marginalized by popular social sites such as
Facebook and Twitter.
Gundotra also unveiled several mobile search features, including Search by
Voice in Japanese; What's Nearby, a location-based feature on Google Maps for
Android 1.6+ devices; and the aforementioned Google
Goggles computer vision technology. Read more about those features and applications