By MG Siegler
Bing is something of a rarity for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) these days: It’s a product that actually has good natural buzz. And for good reason too, it’s a solid product. For certain queries, it seems more useful than even, yes, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). (And not just porn queries.) And Microsoft isn’t squandering away this opportunity, it’s keeping its foot on the gas, Thursday attacking what is perceived to be Google’s weakness: Real-time search results.
While that’s a little misleading — Google actually does have plenty of data that gets into its system almost immediately — what everyone seems to mean by real-time results these days is Twitter results. And that’s exactly what Bing is adding. Kind of. As it notes on its blog:
Today we’re unveiling an initial foray into integrating more real time data into our search results, starting with some of the more prominent and prolific Twitterers from a variety of spheres.
While Microsoft is still in the process of rolling this feature out, you can see what it will look in the image below featuring AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher (who also has some more details about the feature). Apparently, Bing will update these Twitter results every minute, reports the New York Times.
But it’s important to note that Bing will not be crawling every tweet that runs through Twitter. Instead, it will focus on only those from people it deems important based on follower counts and volume of tweets. As they note:
We’re not indexing all of Twitter at this time… just a small set of prominent and prolific Twitterers to start. We picked a few thousand people to start, based primarily on their follower count and volume of tweets. We think this is an interesting first step toward using Twitter’s public API to surface Tweets in people search. We’d love to hear your feedback as we think through future possibilities in real time search.
What else is a bit odd about Bing’s addition of tweets is that apparently they’ll only show up for very specific searches. So, for example, if you search for “Ryan Seacrest tweets” you’ll find them in the results, but presumably you won’t (at least not yet) if you just search for “Ryan Seacrest.” That would be much more interesting.
Google has been doing things in recent months such as adding Google profiles and Facebook profiles prominently in search results. But so far it has shied away from highlighting tweets in their results, even as dozens of other search companies pop up to do just that. Even if these tweet results are rather pointless, this will be seen as Bing doing something Google cannot. And that may just give a few more people a reason to use Bing.
Well played, Bing.
Update: The feature is now live. Here’s my result: