Twitter, Facebook noticed by Bing, Google: The End of The Fly-by

21Oct09

Bing and Google are going to start indexing Tweets. They haven’t said so, but I’m guessing they’ll start using tweet insights in their search rankings as well–they already use every byte the can grab in half a dozen ways. The Google blog talks about “the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation,” which is no doubt a part of it all, but the infamous noise factor of Twitter clearly means that G & B will need to be clever about choosing which tweets to present; why not also, use Tweets to be clever about content from other sources? You know they’ll do it: search ranking is a huge point of competition for them (see BlindSearch for more details on that).

This all resonates in my head (like sticking my head in a church bell) with my experience of the “Balloon Boy” story, last week. You know the one:

  • Boy reportedly, may be trapped in accidentally released helium balloon (I heard it on Twitter)
  • Parents search their house frantically but hopelessly (I heard it on Twitter)
  • Authorities track the balloon (I heard it on Twitter)
  • Authorities search for helicopters and ultra-light aircraft to snatch the boy from the basket (I heard it on Twitter)
  • Balloon comes down in a field — but no boy! (I heard it on Twitter)
  • New search for boy (or, frighteningly probably, remains) along the route over which the balloon had floated (I followed it on Twitter, house by house, block by block)
  • Woops! Uh, oh … naughty naughty boy was hiding in the attic! (I heard it on Twitter)
  • Authorities let out that they’re pursuing legal action, for perpetrating a hoax (Yup, heard it on Twitter)
  • And then Yahoo! News picked up that “a boy, reportedly, was trapped in a helium balloon”!

Hard not to believe that maybe Twitter’s on to something here, don’t you think?

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