Google launched a website on Thursday for users who want to sift through news, comments and other information on the Internet in real time.
The new site lets users follow conversations on social network hubs such as Facebook and Twitter in one place.
Google first introduced the real-time search features last December. The company's goal was to provide real-time content from a set of sources, integrated right into users' usual search results. Today all this real-time information is available at a new page at www.google.com/realtime.
The new homepage offers some tools to help users refine and understand their results. First, users can use geographic refinements to find updates and news near them, or in a region they specify.
In addition, Google has added a conversations view, making it easy to follow a discussion on the real-time web. Often a single tweet sparks a larger conversation of re-tweets and other replies, but to put it together users have to click through a bunch of links and figure it out themselves. With the new "full conversation" feature, users can browse the entire conversation in a single glance. Tweets are organized from oldest to newest.
Finally, Google also added updates content to Google Alerts, making it easy to stay informed about a topic. Now users can create an alert specifically for "updates" to get an email the moment their topic appears on Twitter or other short-form services. Or, if they want to manage their email volume, they can set alerts to email them once per day or week.
Realtime Search and updates in Google Alerts are available globally in 40 languages, and the geographic refinements and conversations views are available in English, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.
The move expands the Internet search leader's efforts to compete with Microsoft's Bing in letting Web surfers track up-to-the-minute comments and postings.