Bing and Google Add Social Search
Google and Bing have been locked in a struggle recently for search engine dominance. Bing came out of the gates fast and gained a lot of market share, but has appeared to level off recently (another link, and another link). Neither of them wants to lose any ground. Factor in the recent explosion of Twitter and other near-real-time social media outlets on the web and people’s desire to search them all, and you have two search giants salivating over new opportunity.
Both Microsoft and Google announced partnerships with Twitter yesterday. There had been fears of one making an investment in Twitter and locking the other out from search results, but those fears appear to have been assuaged. At least for now. Consider that Microsoft already has a sizable cash investment in Facebook ($240 million, or 1.6% of Facebook’s valuation at the time) giving them a leg up over Google on searching within Facebook. It seemed that the same thing might happen with Twitter (a company that just closed a deal for another $100 million in funding, pushing its value to ~$1 billion).
Google made its announcement at the Web 2.0 Expo, showing off its Social Search feature from Google Labs. The same presenter, Google’s VP of Search Products and User Experience, then posted this to the Google blog:
…[W]e are very excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results. 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.
Mashable has some more detail on what was discussed at the in-person announcement, including some information on linking your social media profiles in to Google to allow searching across them as well
Microsoft signed two deals on this same day, one with Twitter to bring its tweets to Bing, and one with Facebook to bring status updates to the search engine (another link). The Bing blog reports its Twitter search:
…[T]oday at Web 2.0 we announced that working with those clever birds over at Twitter, we now have access to the entire public Twitter feed and have a beta of Bing Twitter search for you to play with (in the US, for now).
Essentially the Twitter search has been rebuilt within Bing, including the real-time updates. Bing also includes relevancy, based on things like number of retweets, keywords and the quality of the tweets (who decides this?). Bing also shows the trending topics as a tag cloud. In case you haven’t tried it yet, head on over to Bing.com/twitter
The next few months should be interesting as both Bing and Google tweak and enhance they new offerings. Given their same-day announcements, we can expect both teams to be watching the other closely and responding to changes quickly.
In the meantime I’ll be scratching me head on why Twitter, a place solely for me and millions of others to spout our own brand of crazy in real-time, is valued at $1 billion.
UPDATE: Read this swell article, just posted: Social Search: Customers Influence Search Results Over Brands.