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Microsoft's Bing adds Twitter search (update: Google will too)

Bing, Microsoft's surprisingly useful search engine, launched a new option focused on Twitter today.

Bing's addition--described at length on the site's blog--aims to help users sift through the stream of posts constantly bubbling up on the popular "micro-blogging" site. Unlike Twitter's own search feature, it parses both the text of a tweet and any links, and it displays the domain names of pages linked to with condensed links. But don't expect to use Bing's latest tool to dig up your first tweet; by design, it only indexes the past seven days' worth of Twittering.

Google has yet to add such a feature, so for once there's a category of search wide open to both established companies and startups. (Update: About 20 minutes after we posted this, Google announced its own plan to add live Twitter updates to its search results "in the coming months.") To test Bing's new feature, I compared it to Twitter's in-house index and two real-time-query startups--San Francisco-based Collecta and Boulder, Colo.-based OneRiot--in searches for my last name.

Bing's search only yielded two results, both pointing to my latest print column. Note that the second one doesn't actually cite my name; Bing knew to include it by following the bit.ly link in that tweet.

Twitter took a literal-minded approach, only finding updates that included the word "Pegoraro" (the number in Portuguese or Italian talking about other people should suggest Twitter's global reach these days).

Collecta found far more results--but not the second tweet found by Bing--and kept updating this list of results. It also provides some useful filtering options to include or exclude sites and types of Web data.

OneRiot's real-time results were harder to read, in part because its highest-ranked result pointed to a story I did from last summer--how could that be at the top of the Web's hive mind?

(In case you were curious about Google's performance, a search there for "pegoraro" limited to pages on twitter.com mostly yielded individual Twitter accounts, not posts.)

I suspect that for many people, these differences won't matter in practice: If you're on Twitter and are curious what people are saying about a given topic, you'll probably just click on the search form right on the page instead of wandering over to some other site. But give Bing's Twitter search a try yourself and let me know what you think of it in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  October 21, 2009; 4:50 PM ET
Categories:  The Web  
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Comments

Is the government trying to get everyone hooked on these social networking sites?

My God, even kids know putting things up there is bad... and even learning now that they aren't important enough to the world to assume that anyone other than them or the Government would be interested in their lives details...

Long Live BIG BROTHER!!!

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | October 22, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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