Google launches Realtime Search

Google has officially launched a new search engine within its own homepage called Google Realtime Search.

The new website focuses on social networking updates from places like Facebook and Twitter, and it showcases, as the name implies, real time updates as more and more comments surface on whichever topic.

A timeline is featured at the top of the search, which allows users to pick a specific time to search through updates. If you choose the Now button, it will automatically update with new results as they roll in. It  features a Pause button for those who want to ogle through the current results. You can also pick a specific date from the calendar to see what people were saying on a given subject on a given day.

If that were not enough, you can refine the search by location, including an option for Nearby, which will list social updates from people in your region.

A really neat feature is the “Full conversation” list which appears to be influenced by Gmail. If you search for “apple” you’ll get a lot of results that utilise that search term. If you like a certain tweet, for example, then you can click the conversation link to view how it all developed and the back and forth exchange between people which can provide better context. Not all results have this as an option though, only those with actual responses and retweets.

Users can also use Realtime via Google Alerts, which will email updates on a chosen topic from the various websites it covers. This could be an invaluable resource for those wanting to keep up to date with certain obscure areas of research which could slip through the net in a regular Google search.

In some ways it is very similar to Twitter’s search feature, but it is much more versatile and applies to a much larger range of social media outlets including the less popular ones. That said, our tests showed that Twitter dominated the results, followed by Facebook, with barely any alternative sources. This is not to say that Google Realtime Search does not pull from those sites and list them in its results, but for the time being Twitter is clearly the largest pool from which Realtime is drawing.

Google Realtime Search is currently being rolled out across the world but may not be immediately accessible. Until then it can be accessed here or through the Updates button on the Google search sidebar.