Yahoo introduces real-time features- Last week Yahoo introduced its new Search Direct feature, designed to deliver answers and results immediately before the query is finished. The service resembles Google Instant, but with a few added perks. Yahoo Search Direct also includes maps, photos and advertising, and automatically services links to popular trends and news events. To learn more about Yahoo’s new service, check out Laurie Sullivan’s article on Media Post and Kartik Ramakrishnan’s article on Yahoo’s Developer Blog. Google’s new allies in NFC payments- The Wall Street Journal reported today that Google is teaming up with MasterCard and Citigroup to assist in their NFC mobile payment system. Partnering with MasterCard and Citigroup will enable holders of their accounts to use smartphone mobile devices to purchase products. The system will also provide online marketers with further information about their customers and their spending habits. Google begins testing Google Music- CNET reported last week that Google has started testing its long awaited music service. Google Music will reportedly allow users to stream music from Web-connect devices. Sina drops Google- The Wall Street Journal reported today that Sina, a Chinese Internet portal operator, has ended its four-year-long partnership with Google. Since 2007, Google has powered Sina’s news, ads and search results. Sina will now power its own search results. Facebook sets up site for ad creatives- Facebook is expected to launch a new site next month for creative ad agencies, called Facebook Studio. The site will serve as an online catalogue where ad professionals can post and comment on Facebook ad campaigns. As Jennifer Kattula, Facebook’s new marketer of agency marketing, stated, “One of the biggest challenges that people talk to us about is that Facebook is not a place to be creative because the ad unit size is so small, and there’s no sight, sound and motion. The idea is that social is creative. It’s more than just ads.” Twitter turns 5- Twitter turned 5 last week, leaving many analysts to wonder how the micro-blogging site will leverage its network and ultimately monetize its services. Despite its industry struggles, Twitter continues to grow rapidly. In a blog post commemorating its birthday, Twitter founder Biz Stone reported the services now hosts over 140 million tweets and acquires 500,000 new user registrations a day. What’s more, Twitter has played an influential role in global politics over the last five years, becoming a new media platform for disasters in India, Chile, Haiti and most recently Japan. As Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, explained to Computer World, "Tweets matter. For a deceptively simple and innocuous application, it's had quite an impact on the world. It has been an outlet for people rebelling against repressive regimes, and a channel politicians have used to communicate with their followers."