Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 10:14 UK

Real-time search rivalry heats up

Screengrab of Bing Twitter search, Microsoft
Microsoft has already set up its Twitter search page

Twitter has signed deals to put messages sent via the microblogging service into the Microsoft and Google search indexes.

The deals will see messages, or tweets, show up in Bing and Google search results almost as soon as they show up on Twitter.

Microsoft has moved quickly to set up a stand-alone Twitter search page accessible via its Bing site.

Google said its Twitter search service would debut within the next few months.

While some parts of Twitter already show up in some search results they tend to be for individual accounts or messages that have been archived. Both deals will take a feed of all public Twitter streams to make them searchable almost as soon as they are sent.

Rank results

The deals underscore the growing importance of real-time search and intensify the rivalry between Microsoft and Google.

Microsoft announced its tie-up with Twitter at the Web 2.0 conference currently under way in San Francisco.

The Bing Twitter page shows the most popular topics mentioned in the 140 character tweets that are the signature of the micro-blogging service.

Visitors to Bing can also search for specific terms and see relevant messages ranked chronologically.

Soon after the Microsoft announcement, Google unveiled its deal with Twitter via its official blog. In a post written by Marissa Meyer, Google's vice president of search products, she said the inclusion of Twitter's up-to-the minute results would roll out "in the coming months".

Ms Mayer said the inclusion of real-time results could aid some searches.

"...the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favourite ski resort, you'll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information," she wrote.

The financial terms of neither deal were disclosed during the announcements.

Both Microsoft and Google are coming slightly late to real-time search. Already there are companies such as OneRiot, Crowdeye and Collecta that provide such feeds. In addition, firms such as FriendFeed offer real-time updates within groups of friends and colleagues.

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