Microsoft on Wednesday started adding some Twitter posts into Bing search results, gaining a bit of a leg up on competitors even though the capability is limited.
For now, Microsoft is indexing a "few thousand people, based primarily on their follower count and volume of tweets," wrote Sean Suchter, general manager of Microsoft's Silicon Valley Search Technology Center, on a company blog.
The company did not appear to work directly with Twitter to deliver the capability. "We think this is an interesting first step toward using Twitter's public API to surface Tweets in people search," he wrote.
The search community has been increasingly discussing the value of content on Twitter, since it can reflect instant popular public sentiment, and how to best capitalize on it. Although Microsoft's launch on Wednesday is limited, it's a coup for its recently relaunched search product since the other large search providers don't index recent Twitter messages.
Most search engines will display a link to a person's Twitter page and may turn up some old Twitter messages. Microsoft's new offering will list recent individual messages as well as other search results.
Suchter said the feature will be rolling out gradually, so some users might not see the Twitter messages immediately.
The new capability arrives the same day that a new study shows that Bing continues to slowly grow, possibly at the expense of market leader Google. Researchers at StatCounter say that Bing has increased Microsoft's share of the search market by 1 percent in the U.S. in June, still behind Yahoo and trailing Google by a large margin. While Google lost a bit of market share during the month, it still has 78.48 percent market share, StatCounter found.