For many people, real time is the holy grail of search—and an area that the popular microblogging service Twitter has soundly beaten all the search engines on. Google’s struggling with it, and Bing’s last foray, in partnership with Twitter, was disappointing.
But they’re not about to make that mistake again. Bing says if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. They’re partnering with Twitter to bring real time to searches.
Bing describes the search engine:
- A real-time index of the Tweets that match your search queries in results. This feature makes it easier to follow what’s going on by reducing the amount of duplicates, spam, and adult content.
- Giving you the option to rank tweets either by most recent or by “best match,” where we consider a Tweeter’s popularity, interestingness of the tweet, and other indicators of quality and trustworthiness.
- Providing the top links shared on Twitter around your specific search query by showcasing a few of the most relevant tweets. Additionally, Bing automatically expands those small URLs (like bit.ly) to enable you to understand what people are tweeting about. Instead of showing standard search result captions, we select 2 top tweets to give users a glimpse of the sentiment around the shared link.
And to see it in action (or you can use it here):
Interestingly, this comes at the same time as other real time search developments from Google. However, real-time indexing and actually accessing the real time information in Twitter can be two vastly different things.
Bing wisely highlights the benefits this real time search info, using personal examples from their staff, most notably “Sean Suchter (my boss) and I avoided a closed freeway on a rainy Seattle day and made our flight home” and “Eric Scheel (principle program manager on the team) a photo-gear junkie, keeps up on early product reviews and owners’ tweets, which helped him decide on his next purchase” (although clearly non-RT search could do that).
For now, the Twitter-enhanced results reside at http://www.bing.com/twitter, but they may be fully integrated with all SERPs later.
A partnership with Facebook is also slated to be announced today.
What do you think? Is this what you’re looking for in real time search? Will you use it? Do you want it on your regular SERPs, or do you like using it separately?