Considering the instability of Twitter search, whoever figures out how to make real-time search work stands to earn a lot of money.
Today Bing has launched its initial offering in the space with BingTweets, a new portal that integrates classic web search from Bing with real-time search elements from Twitter. While the results are not that exciting, it shows that Bing is getting serious about Twitter, and opens up the possibility of Microsoft earning Twitter search dollars moving forward.
Searching an item on BingTweets brings up a feed of Twitter search results alonside traditional Bing results. In addition, BingTweets features updates from Twitter’s “Popular Now,” “People,” “Places” and “Products” trends. The site also lets users tweet and share results found on the site.
This first effort by Bing is not entirely useful. The Twitter feed is pushed off to the side and a bit unwieldy (the results float by and make it difficult to click through or deduce the size of the topic).
However, it proves that Microsoft cares about figuring out real-time search. According to the Bing blog:
“Many people share their thoughts on Twitter, and search engines don’t currently do a great job of capturing that real-time content. We designed Bing to help you make faster, more informed decisions, and, since people often turn to real-time content to help them make decisions, BingTweets was a logical next step.”
BingTweets is not yet close to having the kind of real-time search integration that will be truly useful for users, but it is a start. The search engine that figures out how to leverage data from Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets will make itself incredibly popular with users looking for big picture results online.
Currently, the data that exists in social media is often siphoned off from search engines. Whoever can provice a comprehensive picture of what exists online for any given topic will have a leg up in growing marketshare.
Integrating elements like this one will help Microsoft in its main effort with Bing, which is cutting into Google's search dominance. And its efforts are paying off. Bing may still have just a fraction of the search market, but it was the only major search company to increase its marketshare in June.
The fact that Microsoft is trying to make itself a player in the real-time space, no matter how beta its efforts look, shows that the company is working to make search better for users, which is the easiest way to make people start using its services. Now they just need to make it work.