Exclusive: Guess Who Else Is Coming to Dinner? Twitter-Microsoft Bing Deal Confirmed, But So Is Facebook-Bing.
In a stunning one-two punch, Microsoft will announce separate nonexclusive deals today with both Facebook and Twitter to integrate their real-time feeds of status updates into the Bing search service.
According to sources, Microsoft (MSFT) digital head Qi Lu will announce the deal onstage in a few hours at the Web 2.0 Summit.
BoomTown reported earlier today that the Microsoft data-mining deal with Twitter was poised to be announced.
But the addition of Facebook raises the stakes considerably because it has the largest pool of status updates, despite all the hype around Twitter. Facebook has previously stated that it has 40 million updates a day, on average, from its 300 million-plus audience.
Twitter has been talking to Google (GOOG) about a similar arrangement, and, according to sources, so has Facebook.
But the deal is a definite blow to the dominant search engine, since–for the first time–data will be available on Bing that are not available on Google.
Neither of the services is expected to be up and running for weeks, if not months. But there is the possibility of a demo today by Qi Lu of what it will look like.
What’s interesting about the deals, which have been in the works for several weeks, is that they will be very different.
Much of what is posted on Twitter is public by design, while Facebook users prefer the closed nature of the service to disperse a wide variety of personal information only to their friends, and they want to control it.
Thus, sources said, not all Facebook updates will be included in the real-time feed to be searched by Bing, but only those its users choose to make available to the wider public. Facebook will apparently provide users with a number of new tools to do so.
BoomTown first reported several weeks ago that Twitter was in advanced talks with both the search rivals about such a real-time search arrangement.
When asked about the talks onstage at Web 2.0 yesterday, Twitter CEO Evan Williams turned coy, according to numerous reports, joking “Whose deals?”
But, in fact, the San Francisco-based microblogging service was very much engaged in dealmaking aimed at gaining more visibility for the billions of tweets from its 54 million monthly users.
And so was Facebook, and it is probably a little irksome to Twitter that the rival social networking site will steal some of the thunder over the deal, which is sure to break out in the blogosphere today.
The two services represent the hugest trove of real-time and content-sharing information, generated from their massive data streams.
The deals with Microsoft might include a payment of several million dollars to both Facebook and Twitter, along with various revenue-sharing proposals that would give them a piece of the advertising revenue made from search results.
Doing these kinds of data deals with big search players does make a lot of sense, since it would be hard for both companies to turbocharge their own search engines without running into the big cash-laden guns at both Google and Microsoft, which recently launched the Bing search service.
Being deeply integrated into big search services would give both companies an even huger footprint.
Microsoft did a small experiment this past summer by integrating Twitter data into search results, starting with tweets of bloggers like me.
And the company provides search services to the Silicon Valley-based Facebook, part of a major investment deal it made several years ago.
Both Microsoft and Google had separately contemplated buying Twitter and Facebook in deals that never materialized.
But, if they both strike data deals with Twitter and Facebook, they will get the next best thing–an ability to offer all that real-time information to the masses from its most innovative sources.