Bloomberg has reported that a significant partnership has been struck between Google and Twitter that will see real-time tweets from the latter reinstated in Google’s search results.
Although the causes remained shrouded in mystery, the earlier deal between Google and Twitter in 2009 was allowed to come to the end of its road in 2011, with neither of two titans agreeing on a renewal of the contract. Some observers (like SearchEngineLand’s Danny Sullivan) suspected some kind of standoff between them, but it left Google having to go back to laboriously crawling content contained in Twitter services.
The new deal will restore Google’s access to Twitter’s “fire hose” of data, making tweets visible in the search giant’s results pages the instant they’re posted (they’ll begin appearing in the first half of the year).
Given that Google’s main search competitors (Bing and Yahoo) already enjoy that access, this must have a big feel-good factor inside Larry Page’s brainchild. And although Bloomberg’s sources say there’s no advertising revenue deal involved, Google is expected to pay “data licensing” revenue instead. Last year alone, Twitter managed to grow that particular revenue stream from $16 million to $41 million. With Google back in the fold, there’s scope for plenty more to come.
There’s another reason why Twitter will welcome being more prominently visible in Google’s search results: it’s just launched an expansion to the scope of its advertising (Promoted Tweets will, from this week, appear on third party sites and apps, beginning with Flipboard and Yahoo in Japan), which means that it of course wants to attract and monetise as many visitors as possible to its service who aren’t registered Twitter users.
But what about the implications for Google’s own social network, Google+? It’s had a pretty torrid time of it over the last year, with its creator, Vic Gundotra, leaving Google last April after eight years with the company. Reports circulating at the time hinted that Google was considering shifting emphasis, recategorising Google+ from product to platform, and effectively shutting down its competition with social rivals like Twitter and Facebook in the process.
The renewed deal with Twitter rather suggests that Google is considering switching off the life support machine for Google+. Time will tell…