Twitter partners with Google and Microsoft

22 Oct 2009

Both Microsoft and Google agree that real-time search is one of the most exciting things happening on the net right now, and to this end both companies have partnered with Twitter to include the micro-blogging site’s status updates, or “tweets”, in their search results, as announced at the Web 2.0 summit.

Twitter, says Marissa Mayer, vice-president of Search Products and User Experience at Google, is “not only as a way for people to communicate their thoughts and feelings, but also as an interesting source of data about what is happening right now in regard to a particular topic.”

Twitter for breaking news

This will come as no surprise to the Twitterers who have been flocking to their favourite site not only as a means of keeping in touch with friends but also for breaking news.

An example of this was the death of pop star Michael Jackson (which caused down-time for Google), where not only the news of his passing broke on Twitter but also subsequent updates were found sooner on the microblogging site.

“We’ve partnered with Google to index the entire world of public tweets as fast as possible and present them to their users in an organised and relevant fashion,” said Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

Joined forces

Microsoft is also joining forces with Twitter to add real-time search result to its Bing search engine but this is actually a fully-realised version of what Bing had already been testing.

Previously, Bing had incorporated real-time results of a select number of Twitter accounts from celebrity Twitterers, so this progression is simply the logical conclusion of its trail phase.

The main difference between Bing and Google is that while Google is planning to seamlessly incorporate Twitter results into the main search results (won’t this get noisy?), Bing is keeping it as a compartmentalised search – Bing Twitter search – which is already available in the US and will be rolled out to other countries soon.

‘Tweakable’ search

This specialised search will also be “tweakable”: “If you want to keep an eye on this topic, you can just watch the tweets roll in. Or, click on ‘See more Tweets about …’ to go to a page full of tweets. On that page, you can change the ordering to ‘Best Match.’ Here we arrange tweets differently. If someone has a lot of followers, his/her tweet may get ranked higher,” says Paul Yiu and the Bing Social Search Team on the official Bing blog.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Twitter’s tweets will be included in Google and Microsoft Bing’s search results.