Google is trying to eat Twitter's dinner

If there’s one thing Twitter does extremely well, it’s real-time news.

Millions of witnesses, journalists, pundits, celebs and other observers can come together to provide an engrossing accompaniment to ongoing events.

With their algorithm-driven pages, Facebook and Google have only been able to look on enviously. Facebook is pushing more heavily into media with trending news and instant articles, which hosts news articles directly on the social network — but when it comes to live coverage, Twitter remains king.

However, Google is preparing to experiment with a new feature that could make it more of a contender for live events.

On Thursday, Fox News is hosting the final Republican Party debate in the US. Google is teaming up with the broadcaster to insert live results about the debate directly into its search results, the company has announced.

Search for “Fox News Debate” during the debate, and you’ll see real-time information and responses from the campaigns flood in, enriching the overall debate.

This experimental feature helps voters make more informed choices, and levels the playing field for candidates to share ideas and positions on issues they may not have had a chance to address during the debate,” Danielle Bowers writes for Google News Lab. “By publishing long-form text, photos and videos throughout the debate, campaigns can now give extended responses, answer questions they didn’t get a chance to on stage, and rebut their opponents.”

(The news was previously reported on by TechCrunch.)

Of course, Google’s new feature doesn’t offer the same global community that Twitter has. But it’s a clear indication that the search giant is interested in making its platform more useful for real-time results and coverage. With Twitter struggling to gain new users, and with Google’s unrivalled reach — it’s a first step that should make Twitter nervous.

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