Update: just announced that the search giant has “reached an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results.”
Bing has won what could prove to be a major coup in the race to integrate real-time information into Web search. But chances are, Google will edge them out in the long-game.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft has signed deals with Facebook and Twitter to stream their status updates in real-time into their search engine, so users can search feeds as they stream in from all over the world. That means Web search can finally be relevant when searching for trending topics and breaking news.
Right now it takes search engines’ Web crawlers several weeks to index new publicly viewable data on the Web. The Bing arrangement would presumably assign indexing priority to streams from Twitter and Facebook. Google, for its part, has recently introduced a new “Search Options” feature to make its searches more relevant–but up-to-the-minute status updates are still nearly impossible for its general-purpose Web crawler to index immediately. Even so, the Bing-Facebook-Twitter deal isn’t exclusive, which means Google could copycat the concept as soon as it wants.
Still, it would be rather un-Goolge-esque to make special provisions for platforms like Facebook and Twitter; the idea obviously presents little opportunity for horizontal expansion, since other providers would have to be added manually. Any entry-level computer science student would know that’s bad engineering; you don’t do manually what you should automate, especially when you know you need to scale. If we don’t see Google imitating Bing’s deal, it’s because the search giant is figuring out a way to parse status updates and express-index them automatically from any and all platforms. Bing might have gained an immediate edge, but Google’s likely strategy will garner true real-time search–and that’s the holy grail.