Microsoft Bing Director Stefan Weitz denies knowledge of the data integration deals with Twitter and Facebook his boss is expected to announce at the Web 2.0 Summit Oct. 21. BoomTown's Kara Swisher reports that Microsoft has struck deals to index real-time status updates from Twitter and Facebook on Bing, and that Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's Online Services Division, will announce those deals here at the event. Indexing real-time information from Facebook and Twitter could give Bing an advantage over Google, which has been slow to index Twitter tweets and other real-time search info.
director of Microsoft's Bing search engine has declined knowledge of the data
integration deals with Twitter and Facebook his boss is expected to announce at
the Web 2.0 Summit today, Oct. 21.
BoomTown's Kara Swisher reported
earlier the same day that Microsoft
had struck deals to index real-time status updates from Twitter and Facebook on
Bing, and that Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's Online Services Division, would
announce those deals here at the event.
Bing Director Stefan Weitz said he had nothing to announce at this
time regarding the rumored status update indexing. When pressed on whether Lu
would announce those deals here today, Weitz said with a coy smile, "I
have no idea."
Indexing real-time information from Facebook and Twitter could give Bing an
advantage over Google, which has been slow to index Twitter tweets and other
real-time search info. A new Google Search Option surfaces information
within the hour.
Bing already indexes Twitter tweets,
so it is unclear what
this new deal, which is nonexclusive, would mean for Microsoft. But, as Swisher
noted, adding Facebook's 40 million updates a day from its audience of more
than 300 million could help. It would also be a marked departure for Facebook,
which has been loath to free data from its walled garden.
Weitz' noncommittal comments came in a question and answer session after his
talk about how Bing is addressing the challenge of tackling Google, the search
leader with 65 percent of the market. One of those moves is a bid to power No. 2 search engine Yahoo,
which has about 19 percent
of the market share.
Asked how the deal with Yahoo is progressing, Weitz said the deal is still
going through the regulatory process, so the "Yahoo stuff is so far away
operationally." Weitz said Microsoft cannot build the back end to power
Yahoo search until regulatory agencies bless the deal.
The Department of Justice is scrutinizing the deal;
on Oct. 19, advertisers asked the DOJ
to bless the agreement, which would have
Bing power Yahoo search for 10 years, with the lion's share of traffic
acquisition costs going to Yahoo. Microsoft meanwhile would be powering nearly
30 percent of the search market and would benefit from the wealth of search
data Yahoo has accumulated over the last 15 years.
Responding to another question, Weitz said he isn't worried about Google
copying some of Bing's more innovative features, noting that his team spends
less time worrying about what Google is going to do than about what Microsoft
can do with the data it collects from users' searches.
He also said Bing features are too complex to copy unless programmers have a
lot of time on their hands, and pointed to the Farecast travel price prediction
service as an example. Farecast, however, enjoys the protection of being
Weitz also discussed several ways Bing is trying to meet the unmet needs in
search, noting that 25 percent of its searchers hit the back button in searches
because the queries they submit don't produce solid enough results.
For the Bing team, this means collecting a lot of data and making it
actionable. For example, Bing works to reduce clicks required on its search
engine results pages.
Map searches will feature additional results, such as hotel and other
travel-oriented information to keep users from flitting from one search to the
next. Users also receive captions to search results and can hover the mouse over
results to see more info about those results.
Bing also relies heavily on semantic search results from its Powerset
acquisition, allowing users to pose queries such as, "How is plastic
made?" Bing surfaces results from Wikipedia, Freebase and other sites to
provide the answers. Bing is publicly making use of semantic search in ways
that Google isn't.