Microsoft Launches Bing Twitter at Web 2.0 Summit, Says Facebook Data to Come

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-10-21

SAN FRANCISCO-Microsoft Oct. 21 launched Bing Twitter to enable users to find real-time Twitter content through the Bing search engine, a move designed to give the software giant an advantage over rival Google, with its 65 percent search market share that has so far been impenetrable.

Bing will get access to all public Twitter information in real time. In a separate deal, Bing will gain access to all public Facebook status updates. Both deals are nonexclusive, opening the door for Google or Yahoo to make similar plays.

Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's online audience business, announced the deals at the Web 2.0 Summit here during event co-host Tim O'Reilly's interview with Microsoft Online Services Division President Qi Lu, confirming earlier reports.

Neither Mehdi nor Lu provided financial or duration details of the deals, and Bing won't be surfacing the Facebook information for a few weeks. Bing Twitter builds on Microsoft's earlier indexing of Twitter tweets.

In a demonstration, Mehdi showed users the advantages of accessing Twitter's full data feed. The top section of the Website includes a tag cloud of the hottest topics on Twitter. Underneath are shared links of those topics. Clicking on the topics surfaces the latest and hottest tweets on the subject.

Bing takes into account quality, popularity and usefulness in indexing Twitter tweets. Specifically, the search engine looks at the quality of the results and assigns a social relevance score based on the number of followers a Twitter user has. Bing may also assign greater importance to higher-quality tweets or those that have links to news stories. Finally, tweets that have been retweeted multiple times will receive more weight.

The Bing blog has published this post on the news. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone chimed in here, noting:

"Twitter is earning a reputation for delivering real-time results to queries about things that are happening right now. Moreover, there are already tens of thousands of Twitter apps and more to come because people want the choice to consume and create tweets wherever and whenever they prefer. The folks over at Bing took a keen interest in Twitter and worked fast to establish a working relationship with us in line with our open approach."

No other information was available about Microsoft's pending deal with partner Facebook. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is expected to speak here at the summit later today. 

Expect show co-host John Battelle to grill her on the details. Meanwhile, Bing's gain with Twitter and Facebook will come to the detriment of Google, unless the leading search engine follows suit in striking deals with at least Twitter.

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