The surging popularity of social networking has been underlined by separate deals announced overnight by search engine giant Google and Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which will now include Twitter posts in search results.
Bing beat Google to the punch, announcing at the Web 2.0 conference that it has done deals with both Twitter and social networking site Facebook.
Bing plans to integrate Twitter posts and Facebook updates into its search results as quickly as possible, and has released a beta version of its new Twitter search stream (for US users only at this stage).
“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,” Bing social search team leader Paul Yiu wrote on the company’s blog.
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“Web indexes in search engines update at pretty amazing rates, given what it takes to crawl the entire web and index for searching, but getting that to “real time” has been challenging.”
Just a few hours after Bing’s announcement, Google also announced a deal with Twitter on its company blog, although there is no beta version of the search stream up and running.
“We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data,” Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience wrote.
“That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you’ll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information.”
Search engine expert Jim Stewart from Stewart Media says the inclusion of Twitter and Facebook posts in search results highlights the need for all businesses to have a strong social media presence.
He also argues it could force some businesses to change their search engine optimisation strategies. Companies in areas where they frequent news – such as the media, finance, communications and technologies – need to be on top of the news cycle and tweeting regularly.
“What you are talking about is a live environment – what’s going on right now. Companies in those industries really should be having a good look at their Twitter presence.”
However, Stewart expects the search engines’ use of Twitter feeds will be “transient” in nature. Given Twitter does not archive posts, Google and Bing are expected to only post the latest tweets, and probably won’t be keeping its own archive. And that means the value of using multiple Tweets to boost your search ranking might be pretty limited.