Thursday, October 22, 2009

Twitter search rivalry begins

Twitter has signed deals which will allow rival companies Microsoft and Google to index searches of messages posted to the microblogging website. Microsoft's Bing has been the first to launch the service which enables users to trawl the Internet for tweets on any specific subject. Google meanwhile say their Twitter search service will start in the next few months. While some parts of Twitter already show up in search results they are generally individual accounts or messages that have been archived. Both deals will make feeds of all public Twitter streams available and searchable almost as soon as they posted.

The deal underscores the growing importance of real-time searching and is also likely to increase the rivalry between Microsoft and Google. Microsoft announced the deal with Twitter at the Web 2.0 conference currently under way in San Francisco. Soon after the Microsoft announcement, Google unveiled its deal with Twitter via its official blog, though this was inaccessible in China since Google uses its own blogger service to host official pages. Blogger and many other Google services remain blocked in China. Even those that are accessible remain unstable.

The site was unable to be loaded via a proxy many of which have also been axed by Chinese censors. But according to a third party source Marissa Meyer, Google's vice president of search products, said the inclusion of Twitter's up-to-the minute results would roll out "in the coming months".

Neither company has issued any statement on the cost of the deal which brings the two Internet giants to a party that is already in full swing. Real-time searching is already provided by companies such as OneRiot, Crowdeye and Collecta. In addition, firms such as FriendFeed offer real-time updates within groups of friends and colleagues.

However, FriendFeed has been blocked in China for several months, and while OneRiot, Crowdeye and Collecta were all accessible today [Thursday 22/10/09] it is far from certain how long that may be the case. Twitter has been blocked for several months though third party applications, or apps, have made it possible for users to tweet without the use of a proxy server. But in the last month China's censors have blocked many of these third party apps. It may only be a matter of time before real-time searching is also blocked.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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