By Harry McCracken | Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 1:18 am
Microsoft’s strategy with its Bing search engine seems to be, in part, to be visibly different from Google. Which is certainly the case with a new feature the company launched on Tuesday: embedded tweets in results. Searches for someone’s name that include “twitter” or “tweet,” or searches for someone’s Twitter name, may produce results topped by a little module with that person’s two most recent tweets and a link to his or her Twitter feed.
Here’s a random example:
Okay, it’s not so random. Bing isn’t doing this with everybody–just a few thousand “prominent and prolific” Twitterers. (I assume I fall into the prolific bucket.) Bing’s indexing of Twitter results isn’t truly real-time, but does seem to be reasonably brisk–as you can see in the image above, it found my most recent tweet within minutes. Google finds tweets quickly, too–this tweet’s also in the Google index–but doesn’t have anything like Bing’s Twitter-centric module.
Microsoft doesn’t mention this in its blog post announcing the new feature, but the Twitter module also shows up even if you don’t reference Twitter in your search. Or at least the one for me shows up in results for “Harry McCracken.” It’s at the bottom of the first page of results.
None of this earth-shaking–or, really, a radical improvement on simply using Twitter’s own Find People feature. But I’m looking forward to the day when Google, Bing, and their rivals weave useful tweets into their results in a sophisticated way, and it’s nice to see tangible evidence that Microsoft’s starting to think about the problem. (As, of course, is Google–even if it hasn’t launched anything noticeably Twittery just yet…)