This week in search 2/21/10

This is part of a regular series of posts on search experience updates that runs weekly. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

This week, real-time search took center stage, along with a surging interest in the Winter Games in Vancouver.

Real-time search in Russia and Japan
Since the release of real-time search in December, we've seen that finding real-time content — often the only source of online information at the time — can be quite profound. For example, recently when California experienced a few earthquakes, real-time content appeared in search results just seconds after the ground shook. As you can imagine, getting this functionality out to the rest of the world has been a top priority. Because of this, we recently launched real-time search with Russian and Japanese, the first of the languages we plan to support. We want to bring you this functionality globally, so stay tuned as we add more countries.

MySpace in real time
Also in real-time news, starting this week we officially added MySpace content to real-time search. Now you can tap into the pool of news, photos and blog posts that MySpace users have chosen to publish to the world. These updates are all ranked to reflect the most relevant, freshest results, many of which are just seconds old. In all, real-time search includes more than a billion documents and processes hundreds of millions of changes daily. We're quite excited to offer this enhancement so that real-time search becomes even more useful. You can find the MySpace updates in our real-time mode by clicking on "Show Options" and then "Updates."

Example search: [myspace]

Better site searches for Images
Based on feedback from users and webmasters, we have improved the [site:] operator for Google Images. In the past, the [site:] operator filtered based on the image URL, not based on the URL of web pages linking to the images. Now, the operator will run your search over web sites that include images, no matter where the images themselves are hosted, which removes a lot of noise from your results and gives you more control over what you're searching for.

Example searches: [ space shuttle], [], []

Trends in searching for the Winter Games
It's been a week since the Winter Games in Vancouver began, and it's clear you have great interest in finding out more about the games. From women's downhill to curling rules, we've seen searches rise as people everywhere watch the quest for gold. Check out Google Trends to see what's of greatest interest now.

Hope you enjoyed this week's features. Stay tuned for what's next!