In Search Wars, Twitter Plays Both Sides

NEW YORK Microsoft is looking to build an advantage over Google by beefing up its ability to search the real-time Web. But Google is fighting back.

The company today announced that its search product Bing would soon be able to deliver search results including up-to-the-minute information from both Twitter and Facebook.

However, just hours after Microsoft’s announcement, Google announced it had reached a similar deal to feature Twitter data in its search results.

Microsoft at least beat Google to the punch in launching its new Twitter tool, which enables users to search through Twitter conversations without leaving the site: Plus, Bing’s Twitter channel automatically lists which topics are currently the ‘hottest’ on Twitter. And users can conduct more refined Twitter searches by ranking results by variables such as popularity, relevance or ‘interestingness.’ Microsoft first began incorporating some Twitter data into Bing in July.

Meanwhile, Google’s Twitter search product is coming soon. “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,” wrote Marissa Mayer, Google’s vp of search products and user experience in a blog post on Wednesday.

However, while Microsoft’s Twitter coup was short lived, it can — for now at least — claim a point of differentiation for Bing over Google. As the result of a new global partnership with Facebook today, Bing’s search results will soon also feature information from Facebook users’ status updates.

But once Bing fully incorporates both Twitter and Facebook status data, it may be able to claim that it offers users a better handle on what Web users are talking about at given moments.

Nielsen Business Media