Google and Twitter are currently in the middle of a very public feud over Google’s “Search plus Your World” initiative. Twitter probably has some legitimate concerns here and it’s a bit surprising that Google didn’t anticipate this reaction. While all of this is playing out, though, Google’s biggest rival, Microsoft’s Bing, has decided to stay out of the fight. I asked the Bing team for a comment about the Google/Twitter fight or Google’s updated search feature today and all I got was “no comment.”
Bing’s situation, of course, is very different from Google’s. Microsoft doesn’t have its own social network that it needs to push – instead of developing its own network, Redmond long ago decided to just partner with the biggest players in the social networking game: Twitter and Facebook. Windows Live, for example, aggregates updates from these networks for its users.
Google, however, decided not to work closely with Twitter anymore when it let its deal with the company expire last year. Why exactly that happened is not 100% clear, but rumor has it that Google wasn’t willing to pay for access to Twitter’s firehouse feed. Instead, Google now has to index Twitter pages just like it indexes any other website.
Microsoft also decided to work with both Twitter and Facebook. Search results on Bing are personalized with the help of data from these networks. Had the Bing team commented on “Search plus Your World,” chances are they would have pointed out that these two networks are also far larger than Google+ and hence bring more value to users. Either way, though, Microsoft managed to create a situation where it doesn’t need to excessively promote its own social network in its search results.
These partnerships then allow Bing to just sit back and enjoy the fight – especially given that Twitter is happily fighting it for them.