Microsoft Corp.'s Bing has beaten Google Inc. to the punch.
Google has been rumored to be casting an eye toward creating a tool for searching social networking sites, like Twitter. But today, Bing came out and did it.
Sean Suchter, general manager of Microsoft's Silicon Valley Search Technology Center, said in a blog post yesterday that the company is integrating more real-time data into its search results. To kick off their effort, Bing will be picking up tweets from only the more prominent Twitters, such as former Vice President Al Gore and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. From the technology side, Bing will pull from Twitterers like Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineLand.com, and Kara Swisher, a technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal.
"There has been much discussion of real-time search and the premium on immediacy of data that has been created primarily by Twitter," wrote Suchter, who was formerly Yahoo Inc.'s vice president of search technology. "We've been watching this phenomenon with great interest, and listening carefully to what consumers really want in this space ... We're not indexing all of Twitter at this time... We picked a few thousand people to start, based primarily on their follower count and volume of tweets."
When someone does a search on Bing for Al Gore in association with Twitter, for instance, the user should see Gore's latest tweets come up among the search results.
If online chatter succeeds, Bing won't be alone for long in offering this Twitter-search feature.
A possible Google microblogging search service that would focus on finding Twitter posts has been the subject of online chatter in recent weeks. A Google spokesman wouldn't confirm or deny the rumors.
Hadley Reynolds, an analyst at research firm IDC, said in a previous interview that it would be a smart move for Google.
"Google wants to be the single storehouse for the world's information, and Twitter has to be part of that conversation," he said. "Twitter's own search tool has gotten mixed reviews. Google has been working on this kind of thing for 10 years and Twitter hasn't. There is a learning curve there."