Microsoft Adds Some Twitter Real-Time Data to Bing (And Stalks BoomTown in the Process)
Microsoft just announced in a blog post that it was “integrating more real time data into our search results, starting with some of the more prominent and prolific Twitterers from a variety of spheres.”
Microsoft (MSFT) said it is not indexing all of Twitter in its new Bing search service–not yet, that is–nor has it made any kind of exclusive deal with Twitter to add this real-time feed.
Recent tweets will be prominently displayed near the top of the search page, but could also be spread throughout the results.
The feature is now rolling out, so might not be able to be accessed immediately. It will be updated every minute, said Microsoft.
Microsoft is the first major search service to do this on a regular basis, using public programming interfaces, or API’s, available to anyone from Twitter–and it is an aggressive move, which seems to be part of its major push by Bing (which is, in fact, seeing some share gain in yet another report released today).
But, all are moving in that direction. While neither Google (GOOG) nor Yahoo (YHOO) is regularly indexing any part of the microblogging service’s real-time data stream yet, both have been testing the idea internally.
All three, though, do index static Twitter profiles in some way in their search results. They also can show older tweets that have specific keywords in them.
The Microsoft effort is different, and, um–and I had absolutely no idea that the company was doing this–appears to include BoomTown tweets, as well as those from other tech bloggers like Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan and a “few thousand people to start.”
Still, in a mission-accomplished effort to creep me out, Microsoft’s Sean Suchter, general manager of its Silicon Valley Search Technology Center, noted in the blog, “starting today, when you search for these folks names in association with Twitter, you’ll see their latest Tweets come up in real time on Bing’s search results.”
He then used my name and Twitter profile as an example, displaying some of my duller tweets of stories I had posted on All Things Digital.
(My testy roundelay with TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld about the veracity of its Twitter-about-to-sell-to-Google post a while back would have been much more interesting, and pertinent too!)
In an interview with me this afternoon, Suchter described the addition of the specific tweets as a “first step” in adding a lot more real-time data to Bing.
“Given Twitter is the big gorilla here and it is a really interesting frontier for search, we thought it was important to get something out there,” he said. “It is also about us learning how users interact with it that will also be really interesting.”
Suchter said Twitter is aware of the move, but that Microsoft did not need any extra help from the San Francisco start-up to launch it.
Suchter said it would begin with a limited number of tweets for now and will not include search results of tweets about a person–although that is possible. And Microsoft, he said, was not able to index all of Twitter at the present time.
“We would like to grow this, because this area is so exciting, so we wanted to get the plumbing working to show we could do it,” said Suchter. “And since there is a lot of useful content in Twitter and in this real-time corpus, it has to be a big part of the search experience in the future.”
This is obviously a first shot in what will be a long war over real-time search among Google, Microsoft and Yahoo–each of which has also been talking to Twitter about a variety of partnership deals that have yet to be struck.
Here is Suchter’s blog on the Twitter real-time data addition:
Bringing a Bit of Twitter to Bing
There has been much discussion of real-time search and the premium on immediacy of data that has been created primarily by Twitter. We’ve been watching this phenomenon with great interest, and listening carefully to what consumers really want in this space. Today we’re unveiling an initial foray into integrating more real time data into our search results, starting with some of the more prominent and prolific Twitterers from a variety of spheres. This includes Tweets from folks from our own search technology and business sphere like Danny Sullivan or Kara Swisher as well as those from spheres of more general consumer appeal like Al Gore or Ryan Seacrest.
Starting today, when you search for these folks names in association with Twitter, you’ll see their latest Tweets come up in real time on Bing’s search results. For example, if you type “Kara Swisher Twitter” or “Kara Swisher Tweets” or even “@karaswisher” as your search query, you’ll see something like this:
The answer will include that person’s latest Tweets, along with an easy link to “See more tweets” from that individual.
We’re not indexing all of Twitter at this time… just a small set of prominent and prolific Twitterers to start. We picked a few thousand people to start, based primarily on their follower count and volume of tweets. We think this is an interesting first step toward using Twitter’s public API to surface Tweets in people search. We’d love to hear your feedback as we think through future possibilities in real time search.
And while we may not be famous, we are prolific, so don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for all the latest news from Bing!
Sean Suchter, General Manager, Search Technology Center, Silicon Valley
Speaking of creepy stalking, please enjoy this nail-biting trailer for “Play Misty for Me”: