World and Nation

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Live Updates Added to Google Results

Unveiling significant changes to its dominant search engine on Monday, Google said it would begin supplementing its search results with the updates posted each second to sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

As part of its much-anticipated entrance into the field known as real-time search, Google said that over the next few days its users would begin seeing brand-new Tweets, blog items, news stories and social networking updates in results for certain topical searches.

Previously it took a few minutes for updates from social networks and blogs to filter into Google’s results.

“Clearly in today’s world, that’s not fast enough,” Amit Singhal, a Google fellow, said at a press conference at the Computer History Museum here. “Information is being posted at a pace we’ve never seen before, and in this environment, seconds matter.”

Google struck formal partnerships with Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to bring updates from those services into its search index. The companies did not disclose terms of those deals.

Facebook has said publicly it is not earning money from the deal, and is only giving Google updates from the public profile pages on the service, which can already be seen by anyone on the Web.

Help Offered for Indirect Investors with Madoff

Some less-affluent victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme could receive extra help from a change in the tax code, under a proposal submitted Monday by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The plan would make indirect investors — those who invested through so-called feeder funds — eligible for tax breaks for theft and fraud losses that are already available to direct Madoff investors; allow for faster, larger contributions to tax-free retirement accounts to make up for the losses incurred; and allow for penalty-free early withdrawals from retirement accounts for those in dire need because of their fraud losses.

Schumer said the proposals were aimed at establishing a fairer tax treatment for those indirect investors, who tend to have a lower net worth than victims who invested directly with Madoff.

The IRS issued rules in April allowing direct investors to treat their Madoff losses as net operating losses, as if the individual investors were small businesses. That allowed them to “carry back” their losses for five years, instead of for three, and to carry any remaining losses forward for up to 20 years.

Those carry-back losses put cash in investors’ hands by providing refunds for taxes paid in past years, the senator explained.