Last week, Google seemingly caught up with Bing in the war over status updates from social sites, announcing a deal to get real time information from Facebook. In reality, Bing’s receiving more complete information.
Both Google and Bing have coveted the “status updates” that users make on social sites like Twitter and Facebook. Our What Is Real Time Search? Definitions & Players explains how status updates, also called microblogging, works at these places.
Updates often contain great content, such as information that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the web or which can be mined to see the popular links that are being shared. Having updates is essential for anyone who wants to run a real time search service. And when it comes to status update content, Twitter and Facebook have more of it than anyone else.
On October 21, Bing announced a deal to get update data from both Twitter and Facebook. It also launched a Bing Twitter search engine that same day, promising Facebook information would be used in some way in the future. Also that same day, Google announced a deal with Twitter. For those keeping score, it was Bing 2, Google 1. Bing had both Twitter & Facebook, while Google was Twitter only — and Google was not even using that Twitter information yet.
Last week, on December 7, Google pulled even with Bing. It launched a Google real time search engine, that primarily focused around Twitter data. Google said it had also reached a deal with Facebook for data, apparently giving Google parity with what Bing had. That data would be integrated into Google’s new real time search in the future, the company said. You could even argue that Google pulled ahead of Bing, announcing it was also taking in status updates from MySpace. But really, it’s the big 2 that matter here: Twitter and Facebook. Bing and Google both had deals with them; both were “even.”
Yesterday, during a visit at Facebook, it dawned on me that this wasn’t the case. In discussing the arrangement, Facebook explained to me that Google was only getting information from Facebook fan pages. Personal updates weren’t being provided.
Fan pages? Personal updates? Consider this. I have a personal page on Facebook where I can share updates with friends, though I can also choose to share those updates with “Everyone” on Facebook. I also have a fan page where I can post updates. Many companies have fan pages, such as Coca-Cola.
Google is only getting information from fan pages. Those millions of people on Facebook putting out updates via personal pages? Google’s not getting any of that.
Did I just miss this from the Google press conference I attended about the deal? Yes. Google vice president of search products & user experience said:
Facebook will be providing us with a feed of updates from their public profile pages, also known as Facebook Pages.
As for Bing, it will receive updates from fan pages, just like Google. But in addition, Bing will receive any updates done on any personal pages, as long as those are marked for sharing with “Everyone.” Facebook also said that Bing is the only service outside of Facebook itself that currently has access to this data.
Why isn’t Google getting personal updates? Google had no comment about that. Facebook told me:
The terms of the Google deal were specifically related to public updates on Pages. But our conversations with both companies are continually evolving regarding ways in which we might work together in the future.
As for the deal, Google was steadfast in refusing to confirm if there was any financial component involved. IE, was Google paying to get the Facebook feed? While Google wouldn’t say, Facebook would. No. As with Bing, Facebook is not charging Google for its updates. Facebook told me it finds it worthwhile to provide an update stream because ultimately, it may bring people back to the Facebook site, where visitors then see ads.
Finally, Microsoft said it has no news to share on when Facebook updates would be integrated into Bing. Checking Google’s real time search service today, I can’t see that fan page updates have yet been integrated, either.