CYBERSPACE—In a development that reveals the degree of competition between Microsoft’s Bing and Google as much as it does the cultural penetration of Twitter, both search engines announced Wednesday they will begin including tweets in search results.
The Bing announcement came first, by Qi Lu, president of Microsoft’s Online Services Group, at the Web 2.0 Summit, when he revealed that not only would the new search engine add Twitter tweets to its results but also real-time status updates from Facebook, and also that it intends to filter Twitter tweets in order to remove adult content and other spam.
The Google announcement came a few hours later, by Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, in a Google Blog posted Wednesday afternoon.
“Given this new type of information and its value to search, we are very excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results,” she wrote. “We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months. That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you'll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information.”
According to TechCrunch, Bing tweet results are available immediately while Google will apparently be “working Twitter's data into its search results over the next few months.” Microsoft says it has not yet set a date for when it will begin adding FaceBook status updates into Bing search results.
Kristina Grifantini, writing for Technology Review, says the integration seems to be a win-win situation. “Social networking sites will presumably help search engines capture trending news topics more quickly, while the search engines can offer needed revenue streams to the social networking sites and help solidify their legitimacy,” writes. “It also makes it harder for businesses to ignore social media: with the integration, having Facebook and Twitter accounts can also help a company gain prominence in the much-coveted top spots on search results.”
According to a late post on SFGate.com, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email that Bing results will include the following features:
* A real-time index of the Tweets that match your search queries in results. This feature makes it easier to follow what's going on by reducing the amount of duplicates, spam, and adult content.
* Giving you the option to rank tweets either by most recent or by "best match," where we consider a Tweeter's popularity, interestingness of the tweet, and other indicators of quality and trustworthiness.
* Providing the top links shared on Twitter around your specific search query by showcasing a few of the most relevant tweets. Additionally, Bing automatically expands those small URLs (like bit.ly) to enable you to understand what people are tweeting about. Instead of showing standard search result captions, we select 2 top tweets to give users a glimpse of the sentiment around the shared link.