Google just announced a major update to its real-time search functionality. Google already displayed real-time search results inside its regular search results pages and offered users the option to see real-time updates through an option in the search options sidebar. Today, Google has given real-time search its own home on www.google.com/realtime and added a number of new tools. Now, Google Realtime Search offers users the ability to refine searches by location and see updates in a conversations view. In addition, you can now subscribe to real-time search results through Google Alerts.
Google's real-time search displays results from news sources and blogs, as well as from Twitter, Buzz and Facebook. Besides displaying real-time search results in a constantly refreshing stream, Google Realtime Search also offers a "replay" feature that allows users to dig into the company's archive to see how conversations about a given topic developed in the past. You can also refine searches by geography (town, state, country) and choose to only see updates that include pictures.
One of the most interesting new tools is Google's "full conversations" feature, which allows users to easily see conversations on Twitter. Google organizes these tweets from oldest to news and indents them to make it easier to see how the conversation developed.
Google argues that it allows its users to "search social and news updates like no other site." It is worth noting, though, that real-time search engines like OneRiot and Collecta offer a similar set of real-time search tools already.