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Microsoft inks Bing pacts with Twitter, Facebook

Redmond gets Web2.0rhea

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Microsoft is adding "real-time" search results from Facebook and Twitter to its Bing decision engine search engine, after inking deals with both social networking outfits.

Redmond senior vice president for online audience business Yusuf Mehdi announced the deals today at a mini-conference in San Francisco, The Wall Street Journal reports, and Microsoft followed up with a blog post on the Twitter deal.

Mehdi called the Twitter pact "a big deal that we've been working on for a long time." But Redmond online services group President Qi Lu said the deal is non-exclusive. He declined to disclose the financial details of the pact, but you can bet Twitter now has some serious revenue rolling in.

Details on the Facebook pact are also sketchy, but Mehdi said the deal would see "public information data posts" from Facebook feed into Bing. In 2007, Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook for a 1.6 per cent stake on the private company.

Bing's Web2.0rhea experiment went live today (only in the US) at Bing.com/twitter. Its Facebook search results will arrive sometime in the future.

After purchasing the startup Summize, Twitter offers its own Twitter search engine. But results can only be viewed in chronological order. Microsoft is also offering a "best match" option that attempts to sort Tweets according to their "relevance."

"Here we arrange Tweets differently," reads Microsoft's blog post. "If someone has a lot of followers, his/her Tweet may get ranked higher. If a tweet is exactly the same as other Tweets, it will get ranked lower."

Bing will not display tweets if you have protected or deleted them, and tweets will not last more than 7 days in its index.

Like so many others, Google has flirted with the possibilities of its own real-time search technologies and was said to have discussed a pact with Twitter - despite CEO Eric Schmidt calling Twitter the "poor man's email." ®

Update: This story has been updated to remove a suggestion that Microsoft outbid Google for its Twitter deal. Google has now announced its own Twitter pact. You can read more here.

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