Microsoft will announce the integration of real time status updates from both Twitter and Facebook into Bing at the Web 2.0 Summit today, we’ve heard from a source with knowledge of the deals. The announcement will be made by Qi Lu, President of Microsoft’s Online Services Group, later this morning.
The deals will integrate real time updates from users of the services into search results. Google and Bing aren’t good at pulling in this real time data today because of the need to constantly index user pages, and the difficulty in knowing when those pages have been updated. Users have turned to Twitter Search and other real time search engines like Topsy and OneRiot to get this information.
Similar deals with Google have been rumored for some time, and we’ve confirmed that at least Twitter has been in discussions with Google around a data deal for months. But Bing is going to be first to announce these deals.
It will be weeks before the new features are live on Bing, we’ve heard from our source.
Facebook swamps Twitter in the number of status updates, with some 45 million of the short emotional grunts by users daily. However, Twitter updates are by default public. Facebook, in contrast, is default private and the vast majority of updates are currently protected from search engines.
Twitter has recently been criticized for exposing messages from users that have turned their accounts private – previously public messages remain indexable by search engines even after privacy settings have changed. Facebook is creating privacy controls, we’ve learned, that will allow users to set even previously public status updates to private, meaning search engines will be prohibited from indexing the content. It won’t be perfect, since anything published on the Internet is often spread far and wide. But it may allow users to hide previously public data to some extent.
There are two big questions that remain unanswered at this point. First, what will Google’s response to the Bing announcements be? And second, is Bing paying for this data? Twitter is clearly counting on data streams as a revenue source, but our position has been that the data is simply too valuable to give to competitors. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free and all that.