In a dance of timing yesterday, both companies announced major real-time search deals at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
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First Microsoft stole the limelight Wednesday morning when it announced deals with both Twitter and Facebook to include the social networks' status updates in Bing's search results . And as the conference chatter was all about how long it would take Google to sign its own deal to catch up with its search rival, Google came out later in the day to announce its own deal, not with Facebook, but with microblogging site Twitter.
"These deals up the ante in the search wars , giving both Microsoft and Google new weapons to deploy against each other," said Dan Olds, principal analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "Since they both have deals with Twitter, there's parity there and it becomes a matter of execution -- which search engine does the best job of sifting through Twitter for the results the user wants?"
Microsoft was very spare in giving out any information on its deal with Facebook, but Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's Online Audience Business, was more forthcoming about the deal with Twitter .
Mehdi said the deal will integrate tweets into Bing's search results. Microsoft's search engine also will rank the tweets according to how relevant they are to the specific query. Bing also will be set up to pull out any URLs listed in the tweets so they can be listed separately.
Bing's real-time Twitter search went up in beta yesterday.
Meanwhile, Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president ofsearch products, announced that the company will be integrating tweets into its own search results.
While Mayer didn't offer many details of the Twitter deal, she spoke more about a different, though related, announcement. She noted that in a few weeks, Google will launch a service called Social Search in Google Labs. Social Search is designed to enable users to search for tweets and blogs written by their friends and the people whom their friends follow.
"We came up with a way to have social networks influence your search results. If you're signed into Social Search you get content from your friends," she said in an interview with Computerworld . "If you do a search for a restaurant, you'll see regular search results, plus it's supplemented with what your friends have had to say about it."