Bing Rings Up Real-Time Twitter Results (Facebook Next)

Microsoft president of the online services group Qi Lu and senior vice president Yusuf Mehdi announced that search engine Bing will aggregate real-time search results from social-networking services Facebook and Twitter at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco Wednesday, CNET reported.

The Twitter component is already live, with the Facebook component—which will include all publicly shared information on the social network—to follow at a later date.

Lu told CNET the Twitter deal is nonexclusive, but he did not address Facebook, and Mehdi said, “You have to do more visual things, you have to do more sophisticated things, and you have to have better access to data.”

Yu spoke with O’Reilly Media founder and CEO Tim O’Reilly at the Web 2.0 Summit, according to TechCrunch, and among the details he shared on the Bing announcement:

In the early days of search, queries were largely about navigational results. Engines are now good at finding Web pages. But we need to get better at determining user intent. The Web has a lot of stuff like Flickr images; images are very important in search results, not just as separate queries.

You’ll remember in Bing Wave 1, we had some Twitter integration for some users, but this is much bigger. We have access to the full (public) data feed. You can see the full feed of tweets natively in Bing experience, and this updates in real-time.

But this isn’t just about the most recent tweets. We also have “best match” to search the tweets. We do de-duping to get rid of repeats. Then we focus on the quality of the results, based on relevancy. One way is to see how many people follow a user. We also look for context—maybe they have a link in the tweet that is relevant. And if a tweet is being retweeted a lot, we look at that.

We also filter out spam and adult items that shouldn’t be in results. We also have the “hottest topics on Twitter,” which is a tag cloud that you can click on to dive in. A real key is to look at the links. We look at what’s buzzy and show those to you.
And with URLs, we will show you the domain of where you’re going to land, so you aren’t tricked.

From the official announcement about Twitter, by Paul Yiu and the Bing Social Search Team, on the Bing blog:

One of the most interesting things going on today on the Internet is the notion of the real-time Web. The idea of accessing data in real-time has been an elusive goal in the world of search. Web indexes in search engines update at pretty amazing rates, given what it takes to crawl the entire Web and index it for searching, but getting that to “real-time” has been challenging.

The explosive popularity of Twitter is the best example of this opportunity. Twitter is producing millions of tweets every minute on every subject you can imagine. The power of those tweets as a form of data that can be surfaced in search is enormous. Innovative services like Twitter give us access to public opinion and thoughts in a way that has not before been possible. From important social and political issues to keeping friends up to date on the minute-by-minute of our daily lives, the Web is getting more and more real-time.

If you want to keep an eye on this topic, you can just watch the tweets roll in. Or, click on “See more Tweets about…” to go to a page full of tweets. On that page, you can change the ordering to “Best Match.” Here we arrange tweets differently. If someone has a lot of followers, his/her tweet may get ranked higher. If a tweet is exactly the same as other tweets, it will get ranked lower. For example, I saw a tweet from ABC News ranked pretty high in the Best Match mode during the “boy in the balloon” fiasco. By the way, you won’t see any of your tweets if you protected or deleted them, and tweets don’t last more than seven days in our index. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.