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Old 09-12-2009, 04:51 AM
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Cool Google to display tweets, Facebook updates

Google to display tweets, Facebook updates

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | 9:39 AM ET
The Canadian Press

Google fellow Amit Singhal talks about Real Time Search, a new feature for the Google search engine.Google fellow Amit Singhal talks about Real Time Search, a new feature for the Google search engine. (Associated Press)

Google is tapping into the growing popularity of social networking by integrating tweets and Facebook updates into its search results, as it enables users to screen for the web's freshest content.

The new feature, launched Monday, is called "real-time search" and allows results to be sorted by when they were posted online, which puts more emphasis on new content such as news articles, blog postings and Wikipedia updates.

Updates on social networking sites will only make their way into search results if Facebook users, for example, have flagged their profiles as public, Google said.

The search engine also made announcements about how it hopes to further entrench itself in the mobile search world with features that will do away with the need to type in a query.

A team of Canadian Google employees, out of the company's Waterloo, Ont., office, had a hand in creating the new Google Goggles feature, which allows users to take a photo with their mobile phone and use it as a search entry that could be matched to images in a Google data bank.

For example, Google said the feature which currently works only with mobile phones running on Google's Android operating system could be used on downtown streets to pull up information about local businesses; at tourist destinations to get history about landmarks; and at museums to learn more about paintings.

Two Google Canada engineers tested out the feature in downtown Toronto, which means it would probably work particularly well in the city's core, said Steve Woods, director of Google's Waterloo office.

Google is also tailoring its search results on mobile phones to take into account where a user is located. For example, mobile users in Halifax and Vancouver searching for "grocery store" would get different, localized search results.

The company also plans to incorporate product search into its local results, which would direct consumers to nearby stores that have their desired item in stock.

Google is expanding its voice-search capabilities, allowing users to speak into their phones to search. It's already experimenting with the feature in English, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, with the aim of eventually having it work with any language in the world.

The feature currently works with BlackBerry and Android phones, the Apple iPhone and the Nokia S60.
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