Google goes real-time to keep up with rivals
Search results to feature content from Twitter, Facebook and MySpace
Google has unveiled its latest innovation - 'real-time search' - as it scrambles to maintain its position as the world's leading search engine in the face of increasing pressure from social networking sites and new rivals like Bing.
Search results will now be updated with ever-changing messages drawn from social networks, news sites and blogs. The California-based technology company says the aim is to keep its results relevant - and as up to date as possible.
Increasingly, people are relying on messages from other web users for their opinions on things like new films and information about breaking news stories. Danny Sullivan writing on his SearchEngineLand blog explains: "When there's an earthquake, people are instead turning to Twitter for confirmation faster than traditional news sources Google can provide".
Google executive Amit Singhal confirmed that time is now everything. "Information is being posted at a pace I have never seen before," he said. "In this information environment, seconds matter."
As well as including Facebook and Twitter in its stream, Google says it is the first search company to partner with MySpace for real-time search. It is not known if there is a financial relationship between the search giant and the networking sites, but the move appears to be designed to prevent search rivals from securing exclusive deals.
Although Google is still the biggest player in the field, its critics claim it has been slow to adapt to the changes in the way information is disseminated across the web, and that it is starting to look dated.
However the company's VP for search, Marissa Mayer, was adamant that Google is adapting. She told reporters her company had launched "33 different search innovations in 67 days".