Last Friday, Bing announced its renewal of a partnership with Twitter. Through the partnership, relevant, real-time tweets will continue to show up in the sidebar of your search results.
Which leads us to ask a couple of questions: 1) what is this good for, and 2), who really cares?
Let's take a look and find out.
Above, you can see my search for "social media" on Bing. Off to the right, you'll see two Tweets, each from 12 minutes ago. And that's one thing that is rather interesting about this new feature–these tweets that show up in Bing results are in real-time.
Other searches yielded the same results (some with tweets from as recent as 4 minutes ago, others as old as a few hours). So at least that feature works as advertised. And that's about where the positives end as far as I'm concerned.
Right off the bat, I can identify at least a few reasons that no one should really care about this feature:
- It's still Bing. For better or worse, Bing only controls 18% of the search engine market–second place, sure, but still far behind Google's 66.9% as of September 2013. As much as I love a little competition, I don't see Bing overtaking Google any time soon, meaning that this feature is going to continue to be put in front of a limited audience anyways.
- Most tweets link to news stories anyways. With every search I tried, my Bing results including tweets almost conclusively contained links to news stories. If I'm going to be linked to a news story anyways, why not just look in the results themselves? Really, in most cases, this feature just adds an extra step to clicking on a relevant story.
- Even if you manage to work your way into the results, that fame will last only a brief amount of time. Would getting indexed in Bing results for a tweet you made be completely worthless? No, absolutely not. But because of the real-time nature of the results as we see them here, even if you do create a solid tweet and get found for it, your internet fame will be brief. Maybe enough for a small traffic spike, but certainly not enough for any sustained increase in visitors to your blog or website.
While I applaud Bing's creativity (it's nice to see some innovation in a space with such limited competition), I'm not sure that any of us should be seriously concerned about the continuation of this feature.
Is it cool? Yes. But is it actually that useful? Not really. There are already great accounts for news (the one search category where I can actually see this being useful), and for everything else, it makes more sense to search Twitter itself if you're actually interested in seeing results from the social media platform.
I see this new(ish) feature (though I use that term loosely) for Bing results, then, as little more than a gimmick. A nice partnership, and that's about it. As much as I love Twitter, you still probably won't find me switching over and pledging my allegiance to Bing any time soon.
John is actually quite proud of his record with Bing It On. He's Editor at Social Media Contractors.