New Year's revelers have a blast

CNN-The New Year got under way with blasting horns and fireworks shot from the Sky Tower as revelers partied Friday morning in Auckland, New Zealand.

Similar celebrations were moving like a wave from east to west as midnight struck across the globe, starting at the International Date Line in the mid-Pacific Ocean.

Throngs danced to pounding rock 'n' roll music and cheered a spectacular 12-minute fireworks display over the picturesque Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. A giant bell was rung before a huge crowd in Seoul, South Korea.

In New York, security promised to be tight for Thursday night's traditional celebration in Times Square. After the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane over Detroit, Michigan, security forces are on high alert.

"We want people to have a happy experience. But we are also concerned about a terrorist event. We have to do that after 9/11," New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

As happens every year, police are searching garages and subway tunnels for bombs, trash cans are being removed, and mailboxes and manhole covers are being sealed. Detectives were asking hotel and restaurant personnel if they had noticed any suspicious people or activity, and radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs were being deployed.

Snow was falling on the square Thursday morning.

See images from Times Square

On Wednesday, a search of a suspicious van led to a partial evacuation of Times Square and the Nasdaq building, but the van turned out to pose no threat.

In the years before terrorism was a concern inside the United States, the Times Square celebration was a rowdy affair, fueled by copious amounts of alcohol, often transported via backpack. Today, alcohol and backpacks are banned from the area on New Year's Eve, and revelers are herded into 2,500-person pens, but the mood is festive nonetheless.

New Yorker Julio Ortiz-Teissonniere, a CNN iReporter, said he's too jaded to take part in the spectacle, but that wasn't always the case.

"When the ball drops, it's like an earthquake," he said. "The amount of people screaming and stomping -- it's amazing."

It's a tense time for police.

"When the ball drops, you get a feeling of relief that you made it through another year," Kelly said.

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Google includes real-time data in search results

Google has introduced so-called "real-time web" results into its search engine.

It means that Google will display information from news organisations, blogs and platforms, such as Twitter, as soon as it is published.

Google said it was "the first time" that a search engine had integrated the real-time web into its results page.

The feature will also be available on phones, such as the iPhone and handsets running the Android operating system.

"Our users will get the results as they are produced," said Google fellow Amit Singhal at an event in Mountain View in California.

"There is so much information being generated out there that getting to you relevant information is the key to a product like this."

Google announced that it would now index status updates from Facebook and all public information from MySpace. Earlier this year, it also struck a deal with Twitter to index messages or "tweets".

The real-time data will be displayed in a constantly updating stream within the normal results page.

The firm also showed off a visual search tool called Google Goggles that allows a user to take a picture with a mobile phone to perform a search.

The tool compares the image against a stored database and then returns relevant information.

"It represents our earliest efforts in computer vision," said Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at the same event.

He said Goggles could also be used to read barcodes to retrieve information.

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