tugofwarThe battle for search continues to heat up as Twitter and Facebook find themselves in the middle of a tug-of-war between Microsoft and Google.

On Wednesday afternoon Microsoft was first to the press with their announcement at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday that their new Bing search engine will index both Facebook and Twitter updates.

In the Information Week article, Qi Lu and Yusuf Mehdi, SVP of the Microsoft’s online audience business, made the announcement.

“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.

You can view the new Bing app here, but I still prefer the Twitter interface for real-time search.

In a foreboding comment, he also stated, “Microsoft’s search goal of understanding user intent, an aim he likened to building “a mind reader.”

I’m not sure that’s the most positive statement for the VP’s to roll out. After all, it’s most common to refer to Microsoft as “The Borg.”

I’ll hand it to Microsoft though. Even though they don’t have a system in place yet, they made a good PR power play to bring more awareness to the Google competitor.

Google made a quick move too. Later in the day, they also announced their search engine would index Twitter’s content too. They didn’t say anything about Facebook, but they did trump the idea their new service would out-perform Bing by rendering faster results with greater accuracy. It wasn’t that long ago Google was rumored to buy Twitter which is now valued at $1 billion.

What was more intriguing for me was what happened after I read the press release.

Almost immediately after I saw the announcement on Twitter, I “retweeted” the news out to my followers and less than 15 minutes later a Google Alert arrived in my email’s inbox.

I monitor various keywords from Google and everytime someone enters a new topic with my name…boom…they send me an email. I monitor a number of topics of interest and it was surprising to see my Twitter comment work its way through Google so quickly for the first time.

This was an interesting announcement for both companies and the integration of this content gives significant credo to both social media services.

Real-time search is a hot topic right now. Unfortunately, after the balloon boy instance last week, I’m starting to question real-time information and still appreciate a journalist who checks his facts.

Although Twitter and Facebook content will now appear in both of the major search engines, I’m compelled to consider the entropy for both systems too.

As things get bigger and more information like Twitter and Facebook content floods the two search engines, how relevant and effective will search be in the future? Will it become too cluttered to find what you’re looking for?

Who knows, maybe there’s room for a new concept in search where some company comes up with a search engine for relative topics? Instead of being the borg, perhaps we’ll see search in the future that focuses only on specific interests alone.

Google still accounts for the majority references for search inquiries here at Times-News Online.

Last month, references from Google represented almost 20% of our online traffic, while Bing came in below Yahoo references at 3%. There’s no doubt Bing is stealing some of the audience and hopefully this competition will lead to a better user experience for everyone.

Which search engine do you prefer? Do you have a personal favorite?

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