Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. have signed a possibly monumental deal which will mean that tweets will now be shown in Google search results from some point in the first half of this year. Twitter has agreed to give Google full access to its ‘firehose’, meaning that the data which Google previously had to work hard to acquire via crawling old data will now be available instantly, as it streams.
Google had access to Twitter’s firehose in the past, starting in 2009, however Google’s very own social media platform Google+ was launched in 2011 and the ties became severed at a similar time between the two internet giants, as the contract between them expired. Following this, Google cancelled the inclusion of any Realtime Search results in user searches, whilst it focused solely on the integration of its own social media baby – Google+.
Now it seems, the time has come for both companies to kiss and make up. But what are they getting out of this agreement; why is it happening?
How Google Benefits
Google can stop scraping for Tweets, and display those 140 character snippets of zeitgeist as soon as they are posted on Twitter. In this sense, Google in able to provide instantaneous, real-time news in its search results; who doesn’t want that? This will provide richer, broader search results, which in turn makes for happier and better-informed users.
As we know, over the past few years Google has publicly declared war on anyone using links to manipulate its search results. One of the problems Google has always faced is that it uses links as a vote to determine who should rank highly within search results. The problem is that no matter how many people have a website or blog, this only represents a small minority of people on the internet. For a long time, SEO experts have suggested that social signals are used in the ranking algorithms but have been unable to prove it for certain. Could one of the benefits to Google be direct access to one of the most popular social link APIs online? One thing’s for certain; Google will certainly be using this data for more than just displaying in its search results.
How Twitter Benefits
Google has (on average) 40,000 search queries every second – this is many more than Bing or Yahoo!, which both already have firehose access to Tweets. With a slowing down of the growth of Twitter, gaining the exposure that Google can provide will give the social platform the boost it needs, whilst showcasing Tweets and the usefulness and importance of Tweets to non-users, or those who have dipped their toe in the Twitter water but don’t quite ‘get’ it. The only way for Twitter to continue to grow is for new users to join, and for current users to log in more frequently. This deal will lead to users being reminded of Twitter’s existence on a daily basis.
This new alliance of old friends will be mutually beneficial for Twitter and Google. Google get their hands on up-to-date information instantly, and from a ‘new’ source, making search results generally better, whilst Twitter get a huge amount of exposure to current and soon-to-be users of its platform. Win-win.
One extra point: if Google+ hadn’t failed, would this be happening?