Twitter has announced agreements with both Bing and Google to allow the two search engines to get access to the full feed of public Tweets. Facebook, meanwhile, has opened it's doors to Bing so Facebook updates will soon be available to search.
Real-time search is one of the next battlegrounds for internet search, with web users tapping in to services such as Twitter to find out the hot topics of conversation and latest news at any given moment. Microsoft has already rolled out a beta edition of a dedicated Twitter search within Bing. These deals appear to be a slight victory for Microsoft’s Bing versus Google, with Bing being the first to market with Twitter data and, so far, the only one to sign a deal with Facebook.
Both Facebook and Twitter status updates can provide a tremendous source of firsthand, real-time information. However, the vast majority of tweets and Facebook status updates are pointless nonsense. Breaking political or sports news will add value to search, but do we really need real-time indexing of what everybody in the world is doing right now?
There are also potential privacy concerns. Twitter tweets are public by default and there are already numerous ways to search tweets. If you tweet it, anyone can search it and read it. Facebook on the other hand is private by default and even with that Facebook has been dealing with challenges from a wide range of public and private entities.
Facebook began as a place for college connections, hidden from the eyes of the outside world and only recently introduced on-site search across user profiles and messages. Now, just months later this data will be made available to Bing.
With over 300 million members, Facebook has over 45 million status updates per day. However, the majority of those status updates are private and only status updates that users have chosen to share publicly will be included in Bing search results. So far it is not clear how Facebook Pages and Groups will be searched. In general, these pages are more public in nature and used to encourage interaction with fans, or advocate for causes.
In the coming weeks, Facebook users will want once again re-evaluate their Facebook privacy settings against the risk or potential of appearing in Bing searches. Likewise, whether it is Twitter or Facebook, realize that your comments might be public in ways that you never anticipated.
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