Microsoft on Wednesday announced major new initiatives with some of the world's most popular Internet services companies. The software giant will integrate Twitter micro-blogging posts into its Bing Internet search service and, at a slightly later date, provide similar functionality with public posts from the Facebook social networking service.
"We now have access to the entire public Twitter feed and have a beta of Bing Twitter search for you to play with (in the US, for now)," Microsoft's Paul Yiu wrote in the Bing blog. "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."
Twitter revealed that the Microsoft deal wasn't exclusive, however, and within hours of the Microsoft announcement, Google made a similar announcement: They, too, will be providing access to Twitter posts, or "tweets," via Google search. Google's Twitter access, however, is not ready now but will instead come "in the coming months."
Microsoft's deal with Facebook is less clear. Unlike with Twitter, many Facebook posts are private, and it's uncertain which content Microsoft will be able to provide to the public outside of Facebook. "Services from Facebook will come at a later date," Microsoft Vice President Yusef Mehdi said.
Both Microsoft and Google are paying an undisclosed sum to Twitter for the rights to parse its public feed. Microsoft is also paying Facebook, though again the terms are unknown.
Meanwhile, the number two search engine Yahoo! is all set: Because of its deal with Microsoft, it gains access to the same information that's made available to Bing. "Whatever they get, we get," Yahoo! CTO Aristotle Balogh said.