Well there is no denying that today was an interesting one when it comes to the world of search and the real time web. From everything I have read so far today everyone seems to be of the opinion that the two deals Twitter made today are pretty important and I would have to agree with that assessment.
MicrosoftOther than Twitter I would have to say that the big winner of today's announcements definitely has to be Microsoft. Not only did they ink a deal with Twitter but they also made one with Facebook as well. While Microsoft's Bing search already has a beta page up for searching Twitter it will be a couple of months apparently before their work with Facebook will be available.
The fact that Microsoft was able to have even a beta result page ready for the announcement today could prove to be very important for the company. As it stands Google won't have anything available for anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months - depending on who you talk to.
This is a golden window for Microsoft and Bing because it will give them time to review and fine tune how the results are made available during which they can try and capitalize on being the only major search provider searching the real time web. While they won't see a rush of new users to the search service it could definitely cause more than a few to start using Bing on a more regular basis.
This isn't to suggest that Google won't have a good product when they do bring it to the table. On the contrary I fully expect them to have an interesting take on how real time search results should be handled. I just would have expected given the current opinion of Microsoft being a stick in the mud enterprise oriented company and Google being the do no evil Web 2.0 darling perpetual beta company that they would have been first in this little skirmish.
The fact that Microsoft beat them at this point with a usable real time search product doesn't mean that the tables have turned. Google isn't going to lose any sleep or long time users over the deal but Microsoft may have just been given a golden opportunity to show they have a very capable product that will win some folks over.
While I am sure that Twitter will be banking some serious cash out of these deals I am sure it is nothing that would pale by comparison to an exclusive deal. This has me wondering if it was Twitter that made the non-exclusivity a requirement of even talking about making any deals. If so kudos to the Twitter team for making some good money but at the same time making sure the Twitter stream remained neutral.
OverallWe are the winners here - make no mistake. Microsoft gets a chance to prove to new users that they have a better search, Google gets to index even more of the world's info only in real time, and Twitter gets to probably put some serious cash in the bank and possibly start living up to its valuation. In the end though it us the users who will ultimately benefit.