Q: Will search ads appear on the www.bing.com/twitter page?
A: Ad units will not be available on the Twitter results page at this time. While this feature is in beta, Microsoft will work to gather critical consumer data and information on how this new feature and functionally perform. We will leverage this data to determine the right time to apply a monetization strategy. Our advertiser and agency communities will be alerted when new ad placements become available.
Q: Why are you doing this deal with Twitter?
A: Bing is a decision engine, and we recognize that making a great decision involves collecting and analyzing material to inform your choices. Twitter provides an amazing amount of information from across the world on nearly any topic and the rise of “URL shorteners” has further imbued the short tweets with meaning. Unfortunately that meaning is often locked up behind an obscure URL that requires a user to click through to see the content someone is talking about. Often, those links are either duplicated of something that’s previously been shared or more nefariously – adult content or spam.
In addition, with over 50 million users on Twitter, it’s hard to know the most authoritative user on a particular topic. Just like in real life when you want to make a decision, you want to listen to people you trust.
Bing saw an opportunity to take Twitter search beyond its current state and continue to further our mission of being the world’s best decision engine. By unlocking the meaning in the links shared in Twitter and promoting tweets about those links by users with a high social reputation, we hope to enable people to use Twitter to make faster, much more informed decisions.
Q: Is the deal exclusive?
A: We’re excited to be the first major search engine to work deeply with Twitter to help turn the amazing amount of real time information into knowledge for our consumers. That said, the deal is not exclusive to Bing and Twitter, but Bing is the first major search engine to introduce this level of Twitter integration.
Q: What are the financial terms of the deal?
A: We don’t disclose financial terms.
Q: Why is this deal good for people who use Bing or Twitter?
A: Twitter is a great tool to understand what is happening in our world right now. As Twitter has grown in popularity, the amount of information shared every second has grown exponentially. Besides the sheer volume of data users have to sift through to find something that matches their interest, the proliferation of information being shared as small URLs (like bit.ly) and the number of people sharing those same links makes it sometimes hard to make sense of the stream. Through this new Twitter feature we are giving people a way to cut through the clutter to find the most relevant Twitter content to their queries.
Q: What is unique about this Twitter feature?
A: With this announcement people will see several new developments in Bing including:
* A search against a real-time index of the Tweets that match customer queries. This feature also makes advances making it easier to follow what’s going on by reducing the amount of duplicates, spam, and adult content.
* Ranking of tweets either by most recent of by “best match,” where we consider a Tweeter’s popularity, interestingness of the tweet, and other indicators of quality and trustworthiness.
* “Top Links” shared on Twitter about your query. Additionally, within these top links, Bing automatically expands those small URLs (like bit.ly) to enable customers to understand what people are tweeting about. Instead of showing standard search result captions, we select 2 top tweets to give users a glimpse of the sentiment around the shared link. Bing also shows the relevant tweets about those links, ranked by the social reputation of those who are posting and based on the popularity of the link and the people that shared the links.
* Finally, a new “Twitter Trends” homepage that lets you see what is hot now and quickly gets you into Bing’s Twitter experience.
Q: What do you expect from Google?
A: We’re focused on our customer, not the competition. With Bing we focus on listening to what customers feel is lacking in the current search experience, which has led us to release new innovative features like the Twitter feature we are announcing today. Today’s announcement is the latest in Bing’s continuing evolution, and we will continue to focus on customers by delivering a new search experience that addresses unmet needs in the market. There is widespread interest in real-time search and we expect to see many companies delivering new models and approaches.
Q: Do I have to go to http://www.bing.com/twitter to search? Does this mean you don’t think social search is important in overall web results?
A: This initial release is still in beta form. We wanted to get feedback on how people use our Twitter real-time index and search functions as we continue to innovate augmenting our core search with the knowledge shared in real-time tools like Twitter.
Q: How is this specifically different from leveraging the Twitter API? What “special” access do you really have?
A: The amount of data available through the public Twitter API is limited. Through this deal we now have access to the complete Twitter data feed. This increased access allows us to uniquely collect, analyze and present the Twitter content most relevant to customer queries. Additionally, the access allows us to analyze back-end data not generally available.
Q: What is “social reputation”?
A: Social reputation enables us to determine which Twitter users are most likely to be providing relevant content and links in response to a particular query. You can think of it as a way that we ‘rank’ Twitter accounts to help ensure we are surfacing the most authoritative tweets and links from the most influential users.
Q: How do you calculate “social reputation”?
A: There are many variables that go into understanding how ‘credible’ a particular Twitter poster is. More than just the number of followers, how often his/her tweets are being retweeted, and how many of his/her shared links are shared by others, and post velocity. We will constantly evolve this algorithm to enable us to bring users the most authoritative sources for their query.
Q: What are the implications in terms of search results quality?
A: Like many of the things the Bing team is deploying, this collaboration with Twitter is helping to improve the quality of search results. We believe people are either looking for this type of content or will be pleasantly surprised to discover something new, and our implementation is designed to have a positive effect on the search experience. With this feature we help people to more fully understand the conversations most relevant to their queries taking place in Twitter, and we are further refining the real-time feed by removing duplicates, links to adult content, and tweets containing spam from the stream.
Q: Are private tweets included in the integration?
A: In our effort to respect the privacy settings of our data providers, Bing displays in our search results only data marked public. If you have data privacy concerns, contact the data provider directly or go to their help section to learn how to change your privacy settings.
Q: How long will tweets be indexed? What if a tweet is deleted, will it still show up in Bing?
A: Tweets don’t last more than 7 days in our index and any protected or deleted tweets won’t show up at all.
Q: What about Facebook? You have a pre-existing search partnership, and they are an increasingly important source of real-time content. Will you also be integrating real-time feeds from Facebook?
A: Today’s announcement is the next step in our indexing of real-time content within Bing to improve the search experience. Facebook is a great partner, and the real-time data available on Facebook is of increasing interest to people. We will continue to look for new ways to expand our real-time indexing abilities, and implementing new features and feeds as they make sense. We have nothing additional to share today regarding our relationship with Facebook.
Q: What about BingTweets and the initial Twitter integration you rolled out earlier this year? Does this replace those two features?
A: BingTweets was a stand-alone project that we did in conjunction with Federated Media. Today’s announcement does not affect BingTweets. With today’s announcement, we are building on our initial Twitter integration to deliver a more comprehensive real-time search solution to customers to help them with their day-to-day decisions.
Q: In what markets is this Twitter feature available? When will it be rolled out more broadly?
A: The Twitter feature is U.S. only. As with all Bing features, we carefully assess the market readiness of each feature before it is released to ensure an optimal experience. We have nothing additional to announce today.