Both Google and Microsoft's Bing have announced that they are to take real time feeds from Twitter. This will greatly increase the almost now nature of their search engine results.

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It is significant that Microsoft's Bing appeared to lead the way on this initiative and that Google was forced to show its hand within hours of the Bing announcement.

With the speeding up of the news cycle it is imperative for the search engines to retain their role in information dissemination. It is clear that in terms of a real time environment for gauging online opinion and activity Twitter has several advantages over Google and other search engines using traditional search gathering techniques - the crawling, indexing and sorting cycle. See:

Google has the superior reach, search algorithm and processing power. However, Twitter and similar social networks have an agility that is unencumbered by having to store and reference billions of pages of documents.