In a move that mimics the one-time rivalry between Windows and the Mac, Google is now engaged in a game of one-upmanship with Microsoft. This time, the battlefield is online, with search and cloud computing, and not the PC desktop. But as with the desktop OS war that Windows won long ago, both sides in this new war feel compelled to copy each other whenever needed. And this week, Google began adding a real-time search feature to its ubiquitous search engine that copies similar functionality in Microsoft Bing.

Of course, Google doesn't promote this feature, called real-time search, as such. Real-time search adds Twitter posts (called "tweets"), public Facebook posts (curiously not called "facials"), and MySpace status messages to Google search results. And these results are added to an ad-less box in the middle of Google search results pages almost in real time, explaining the name.

"Clearly in today's world, \[waiting even a few minutes for social network and blog posts to be added to search results is\] not fast enough," Google Fellow Amit Singhal said during a press conference announcing the functionality. "Information is being posted at a pace we've never seen before, and in this environment, seconds matter."

Microsoft announced that it was adding this functionality to its Bing search engine back in October. That announcement unleashed a flurry of sputtering over at Google, which suddenly announced that it, too, was working on a similar feature for its own dominant search engine. This week's rollout appears to be the fruition of that promise.

Real-time search is currently being field tested (i.e. is in beta) and will begin appearing in Google search results over the next few days, Google says. Google also announced a few other new services this week, including Google Goggles, which lets users search using photos taken with a smartphone. This service was originally called Visual Search but Microsoft took that name for a feature of the Bing search engine back in November. That's right: Google Visual Search got Binged.

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