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10/21/2009
02:50 PM
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Web 2.0 Summit: Bing Wins Facebook, Twitter Partnerships

In a blow to Google, Microsoft has secured search deals with Facebook and Twitter.

Microsoft has struck non-exclusive search deals with Facebook and Twitter to integrate real-time status updates and tweets into Bing's search results.

Microsoft online services division president Qi Lu and Yusuf Mehdi, SVP of the Microsoft's online audience business, announced the partnerships at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday morning.

"We are going to get access to all of the public Twitter information in real-time," said Mehdi.

A beta of the new version of Bing with Twitter data, referred to by Mehdi as "Bing Wave Two," should go live shortly. Facebook integration, he said, would come later.

Lu described the partnerships as one step in many toward Microsoft's search goal of understanding user intent, an aim he likened to building "a mind reader."

Lu was one of at least eight Yahoo researchers and executives lured to Microsoft since late last year.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lu said he would have to check to see whether Microsoft would be archiving the Twitter data stream, a decision that could have significant privacy implications.

Two years ago, Facebook received a $240 million investment from Microsoft. The Bing deal stands to strengthen the financial ties between the two companies.

Earlier this month, Twitter was reported to be exploring search partnerships with Google and Microsoft. The company's decision to work with Microsoft should help quell concerns about Twitter's apparently lackadaisical pursuit of revenue opportunities.

The search partnership will put pressure on Google strike similar deals to avoid the perception that Google's search index has less real-time information than Bing's.

Nonetheless, Microsoft has a long way to go to catch up to Google. According to the most recent data from NetApplications, Google has a global search market share of 83.13% while Microsoft's Bing has just 3.39%.

According to StatCounter, Bing saw its share of the U.S. search market decline from 9.64% in August to 8.51% in September.

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