I’ve been complaining that nearly no search engines surface real time data (for now, that’s Twitter, but Facebook is coming soon enough, and there will be tons more). In fact, I complained to Microsoft about this well before the launch of Bing, and then complained some more when Twitter results were not surfaced in initial beta versions of the service. Man, I’m grumpy lately, eh?
Well, that’s changing. Sort of. From a Bing blog post today:
There has been much discussion of real-time search and the premium on immediacy of data that has been created primarily by Twitter. We’ve been watching this phenomenon with great interest, and listening carefully to what consumers really want in this space. Today we’re unveiling an initial foray into integrating more real time data into our search results, starting with some of the more prominent and prolific Twitterers from a variety of spheres. This includes Tweets from folks from our own search technology and business sphere like Danny Sullivan or Kara Swisher as well as those from spheres of more general consumer appeal like Al Gore or Ryan Seacrest. Starting later today, when you search for these folks names in association with Twitter, you’ll see their latest Tweets come up in real time on Bing’s search results.
Oh boy! I wonder if maybe…I’m one of those folks? Sigh. No such luck. Although, to be honest, I can’t seem to make it work for anyone, including Danny and Kara. Maybe it’s not working yet in my area.
In any case, what DOES come up is my and everyone else I tested’s Twitter account, at least when I add “Twitter” to the query. That’s a major step forward from where Bing was even at launch. That said, there is NO reason to make folks put the word “Twitter” into the query. None. That is a failed use case. Commit, or don’t commit, but don’t ask users to specify Twitter to know what someone might be saying in real time. Better to indicate that the query has real time results, and offer them if a searcher wants them. Or figure out some other clever UI solution. Real time is here to stay, may as well design to it, and not ask users to do it for you.
After all, with the whole Websquared thing, we’ll soon be leaving real time trails all over the globe, and we may well want them surfaced by our favorite search engine, no?
But good on ya, Microsoft, for dipping your toe into the water. Google, your ball.
UPDATE: It works now. I’m one of the chosen ones! Oh joy!