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Google builds real-time search into Google+

With the feature, people can watch as as posts on a particular subject arrive on Google's social network. Also new: hashtag support to let people label their posts.

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Google has built real-time search results into Google+, giving people the ability to watch a live feed of Google+ activity about a given subject.

In addition, the company wired real-time search up to the idea of hashtags, popularized on Twitter by the company's own Chris Messina as a way to flag particular themes. He called for Google+ hashtag support in July, and now when people add the hash symbol in front of a term--"#ios5," for example--it links to search results for that term.

The new features are gradually being enabled for Google+ users now, said Vic Gundotra, the Google senior vice president in charge of Google+, in a Google+ post today.

Real-time search works as an extra step after a regular Google+ search performed with the "search Google+" box in the service's upper-right corner. After you search for a term, you'll see results, but if new results arrive, a "most recent" link will appear. Clicking that link will add a stream of new Google+ posts matching the search term.

Though search is of course Google's core business, Google+ launched without it. Google added search abilities to Google+ in September, when it opened the social-network service up to the public.

Here's Gundotra's video explaining the features via a YouTube video: