I have to admit that I have very mixed feelings about this new Microsoft-Twitter deal that will deliver tweets into Bing's search results.
On the surface, it sounds like a great idea. There's a lot of buzz on Twitter about a wide range of topics and incorporating those short and to-the-point tweets into the results saves users from going to Twitter Search to eavesdrop on what's being said by the masses. But then I saw a demo on the big screen at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco - and I didn't really like what I saw.
The main reason: Too much noise.
Yes, Twitter brings some extra value to search results by giving users more than just what's published on Web sites. But they're also offering even more results from a search query - and that's not always a good thing. Think about it: the sheer volume of query results - whether from Google, Bing, Yahoo or anyone else - can truly be overwhelming. Now, with tweets incorporated into the mix, the results are even busier.
The Twitter feature should be live now - Microsoft was planning on pulling the trigger on it this afternoon. A Facebook feature was also announced but that will be integrated later.
As the Web becomes more social - and filled with content, whether a tweet, a blog post or just a Facebook update from regular Joes and Janes - the information on the Web becomes more cloudy. Search engines need to do some filtering for us - and while I realize that Bing is doing some of that filtering by delivering tweets that are relevant to the search query, I can't help but think that tweets will clutter the results, not make them better.
As for Facebook on Bing: more noise, more noise, more noise.
I should be happy for Twitter about this. Even though the financial terms of the deal weren't released, this is a sign that Twitter has finally found a way to take the big volume of tweets - and the real-time feel of them - and turn them into something that brings in revenue for the service. And, because it's a non-exclusive, surely there must be talks for a similar deal with Google, as well.
Call me Old School - or even overly grumpy - but I'm just not jumping up and down about tweets coming in through a search engine.