Real-time search helps Internet users find Web posts, including those from San Francisco's Twitter Inc., seconds after publication. The field has grown in importance amid the exploding popularity of services like Twitter, which lets users blast short messages rapid fire from computers and mobile phones.

The growth of Twitter has fueled expectations that real-time search could drive Internet advertising to new heights by allowing marketers to target relevant ads at consumers interested in breaking events, hot topics or their favorite celebrities. Some proponents argue real-time data and search could develop into a billion-dollar market.

"Every conceivable advertiser will be interested," said Ron Conway of SV Angel LLC, an early investor in Google and Twitter. "It will create a huge monetization opportunity."

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