Forget the Windows 7 launch, the real big news from Microsoft this week is that it has reached a deal with Twitter to include real-time tweet data in Bing searches. If that wasn't excitement enough for the Twitterati, just a few hours after Microsoft made its announcement Google joined in and announced that it too had reached an agreement with Twitter to do the same.
If you still play buzzword bingo, then forget Web 2.0 or even Social Media if you want to score big points, the buzzword today has to be Real Time Web. And that is what has got both Microsoft and Google so excited, the notion of capturing and enabling access to data in real time. It is something of the Holy Grail as far as search is concerned, and something which the deals with Twitter makes a little more of a reality.
In an announcement on Wednesday Microsoft was positively gushing over the glory of Twitter, stating "Twitter is producing millions of tweets every minute on every subject you can imagine. The power of those tweets as a form of data that can be surfaced in search is enormous. Innovative services like Twitter give us access to public opinion and thoughts in a way that has not before been possible".
Which is why Microsoft was pleased to announce that "we now have access to the entire public Twitter feed and have a beta of Bing Twitter search for you to play with" which is great, and you can try the thing out here. Assuming you are in the US that is. The great real time global news and opinion feed that is Twitter is only available to Americans for now. The logic behind that particular decision escapes me, so if anyone from Microsoft, or on the Bing team, cares to comment here and explain I'm ready and waiting.
I am also ready and waiting for the Google Twitter Search which is not just available for the US audience. In fact it is not even available for the US audience, or any other for that matter. All Google has done is quickly react to the Microsoft announcement and let everyone know that it too has done a deal with Twitter to try and take some of the sting out of Bing beating them to the PR punch.
"We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data" says Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience at Google, who continues "we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months".
Coming months? Looks like Microsoft really has stolen a march on Google this time. Another feather in the Bing bonnet, but one that may well blow away when Google does get that Twitter search integration sorted. I just hope it doesn't take too long to archive and index the 5 billion tweets that have already been tweeted, and the millions more that are being added every day.