Kara Swisher

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Microsoft's Qi Lu Talks About Bing (and Confirms Facebook and Twitter Real-Time Data Deal) at Web 2.0


Microsoft digital head Qi Lu took to the stage at the Web 2.0 Summit conference this morning, where he confirmed a “strategic” deal with both Facebook and Twitter to integrate real-time information into Microsoft’s Bing search service.

BoomTown broke news of those twin deals earlier today.

Bing’s Twitter integration in beta form is now live here (see an image of it below; click on it to make it larger).

Facebook’s integration will come later, said Microsoft (MSFT).

Before announcing the deal, Lu–who is a quintessential techie–first went a bit deep into the weeds to talk about “how we think about search.”

Said Lu: “To start with, we think about search holistically…it’s about user intent. What it amounts to is that you are trying to build a mind reader.”

Top MSN exec Yusuf Mehdi then bounded onstage to talk about the deals with Twitter and Facebook and do a demo, which was what the audience gathered in San Francisco wanted to hear about and see.

“If today’s search is about getting to the UPS or the FedEx site, tomorrow is much more complicated,” said Mehdi, who described the deals as “strategic.”

Google (GOOG) is also in talks with both Twitter and Facebook about a similar arrangement, but Microsoft’s move was a clear one-upsmanship with its search rival.

And what Mehdi showed was impressive, with the ability to sort tweets in a number of ways.

Such information in search will obviously improve results.

Lu gave few specific monetary or operational details of the service–such as if Facebook and Twitter get a cut of its search advertising revenue or if Microsoft will archive the status updates–mostly focusing on Twitter, since it is first to roll out.

“This is just the beginning,” said Lu. “The Twitter corpus…is still evolving and emerging.”

Added Lu at the end: “Give us a try!”

Here is Microsoft’s press announcement on the deals with two of Silicon Valley’s innovation hotshots:

This morning at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Qi Lu, President of Microsoft’s Online Services Division is announcing a new beta feature that enables people to easily search Twitter’s real-time information feed directly in Bing. This new feature helps people make better decisions and more fully understand Twitter conversations by collecting, analyzing and uniquely presenting real-time Twitter content.

More specifically, the new Twitter developments in Bing include:

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.

You can try out the new Bing Twitter search beta here momentarily or learn more about it at the Bing blog. Please note that this is a U.S. only feature at this time.

Facebook Partnership

As part of his on-stage discussion at the summit, Dr. Lu is also announcing a global partnership with Facebook that will bring public Facebook status updates to Bing search results. The experience will be available at a later date.

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