Twitter The Latest Battleground As Google-Microsoft War Escalates

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The addition of Twitter comes as Microsoft is trying to pump up the profile of Bing and present it as a key alternative to Google's search supremacy.

Microsoft struck first, with Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's online services division, making the announcement during Microsoft's presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. According to Microsoft, Bing can now integrate Twitter Tweets into its search service so that they show up in Bing search results. The integration is in beta and is the fruit of what according to reports were weeks of negotiations between Microsoft and Twitter on leveraging each other's platforms.

The Twitter deal appeared to give Microsoft the upper hand. But a few hours later, Google confirmed via a post to its Official Google Blog that it would begin offering similar capabilities.

"We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how Tweets can make search better in the coming months," wrote Marissa Meyer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, on the Google blog. "That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a realtime observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you'll find Tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information."

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The winner in these agreements is, of course, Twitter, which sees its exposure ramped up significantly by providing pretty much the same capability to both the Google and Bing search engines. Not that Twitter needed much help; according to a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project study, almost one-fifth (about 19 percent) of U.S. Internet users now use Twitter -- up 8 percent from six months earlier.

Whether Twitter will help Microsoft's Bing gain any ground on Google is a definite wait-and-see. Bing has continued to nibble at U.S. search market share since its June debut, with Microsoft's share having increased from 8 percent in May to 9.4. percent in September, according to the latest results from search traffic tracker ComScore. Google's share remains the heavyweight, with 64.9 percent of U.S. search queries in September.