Microsoft Uses Twitter, Facebook Firehose Feeds for Bing Social

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-06-10

Microsoft's Bing team moves to make its search engine more social by rolling up Twitter tweets and status updates and shared links from Facebook fan pages into a new Website called Bing Social.

Bing began indexing tweets sparingly last July, but kicked it up with the launch of its Bing Twitter Website last October at the Web 2.0 Summit.

At the time, Yusuf Mehdi, the senior vice president of Online Microsoft's Online Audience Business Group, pledged to add data from the Facebook firehose feed to the mix.

Mehdi delivered with Bing Social at SMX Advanced in Seattle June 9. Mehdi did not say how much Microsoft pays Twitter or Facebook for the content.

What the incorporation of the Facebook data means is that Bing will search through Facebook fan page updates and deliver matching results.

In Bing's example, a search for "NBA Finals" will return fan page content from Facebook, including posts from a local TV station.

Facebook is still pretty protective of its data. For non-fan pages Bing can only surface popular shared links from Facebook users in the aggregate form, and only those links from users who have set their status updates to be shared with "everyone."

Bing has also spruced up trending topics by using content from both Twitter and Facebook. A search for MTV Movie Awards, for example, pulls up info about why it's trending, a snippet of social results from Twitter and Facebook, with query refiners on the bottom.

The firehose updates come one month after Bing launched buttons that let shoppers solicit product feedback from their friends on Facebook and Twitter.

The work shows Bing is trying to be a relevant player in the real-time and social search categories, which are clearly blurry thanks to the real-time nature of Twitter and the social aspects of Facebook.

Google is offering tweets and content from Facebook and Myspace in real-time. The search giant also sports its own social search effort to drop content created by users directly into their friends' search results.

However, it's clear these efforts from Bing and Google are still either practices that warrant time to mature.

Or, they could have already lost out to Facebook and Twitter, whose combined networks of some 600 million users are really where users want to share links, photos and video content.

Rocket Fuel