Microsoft has reached deals with both Twitter and Facebook to include real-time feeds from both sites in Bing’s results. The Twitter deal had been rumored for several weeks, although the addition of Facebook data to Bing comes as a surprise. Under the Twitter partnership, Bing users will now be able to search for a query, and then immediately see a constantly refreshing stream of Tweets roll in. The results can be filtered by date or by “best match.” A beta version of the feature—which you can visit here—just went live; the Facebook tie-in will follow at an unspecified “later date.”
All of the major search engines have coveted some sort of deal with Twitter, since the microblogging service is being widely used to search for what people are thinking about a certain topic at a given moment. Facebook’s use as a real-time public pulse finder has been more limited, since so many Facebook users keep their status updates private. That is slowly changing, however, because of recent changes Facebook has made to its privacy settings.
The deal is a coup for Microsoft because—as Kara Swisher, who first reported the news, points out—Bing will now be able to offer access to data that Google does not have. Google does index Facebook and Twitter for public status updates, but there is a significant lag. Microsoft’s advantage, however, may not last long. Google too has been talking to Twitter and Facebook about getting access to their real-time feeds, and Microsoft’s deals with both Twitter and Facebook are reportedly non-exclusive.
Microsoft did not release any financial terms of the deals, but earlier reports said a deal could involve a “several million dollar” payment to Twitter and also include ad revenue sharing. Microsoft and Facebook already have a relationship, since Microsoft owns a 1.6 percent stake in the social network.