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Google now displays real-time tweets in mobile search results

By integrating tweets directly into Google results, Twitter is aiming to draw more users to its own service.

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You can now view real-time tweets in your Google mobile search results. screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The next time you search for something via Google's mobile app or your mobile browser, you may find related tweets popping up.

As of Tuesday, real-time tweets began showing up in the search results that appear on your mobile device, assuming you use Google's app, Google.com or your mobile browser with Google set as the default search engine. Google and Twitter each announced the tweak in separate blog posts that explained how to discover relevant tweets in search results.

For example, search for "Obama" on your mobile device, and the latest tweets from the president's Twitter account pop up in your search results. You can also include a hashtag to find tweets on trending topics. Search for "#madmen," and you'll find tweets that discuss the finale of the popular series. As an alternative, you can specify the word "Twitter" as part of your search. For example, search for "CNET Twitter," and among Google's search results will be tweets that point to recent CNET stories.

You can find tweets posted by someone for whom you're searching, or tweets about a hot topic that interests you. A Google spokesman said that the company is testing the feature to see how it resonates most with users and will make improvements as the feature catches on.

The tweets that appear on the search results act just like regular tweets. Tapping any embedded URL will take you to the linked webpage. Tapping the Twitter account name opens the Twitter app to show you the full account.

The feature is just starting to roll out in the US, so some people may not see it just yet. It's limited to the Google app for iOS and Android as well as your mobile browser and Google's mobile website. A desktop web version is due to arrive soon, according to Google. And the feature, which is English-only for now, is slated to reach other countries in the coming months.

So how does the new feature benefit the companies and searchers? Twitter, of course, may lure more users to its own service, which has been growing though not fast enough to please investors. Google, meanwhile, gains access to real-time updates, potentially drawing in more searchers. And for searchers, real-time tweets may offer up-to-date information that may not otherwise appear in Google's search results

"We've always aimed to provide people with the most relevant, useful information from the widest variety of sources," a Google spokesman said Wednesday. "Twitter provides great real-time content and useful information from a variety of influencers."

The new deal reportedly excludes advertising revenue, which suggests that Google is paying a flat licensing fee to access Twitter's data. Whatever the arrangement, Twitter stands to gain financially by bringing attention to more than just users' tweets. Twitter, for example, charges companies $200,000 a day to display promoted trends.

This isn't the first time Google and Twitter have teamed up to deliver search results. In late 2009, Google reached a nonexclusive deal with Twitter to access the steady stream of content created by tweeters. But the data was not real-time, and Google had to manually crawl Twitter for the information rather than have the information automatically included in its search results.

Twitter did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

Update, 9:40 a.m. PT: A comment from Google has been added.

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