Twitter and Google Team Up Again

24 February 2015

Everyone’s favourite micro-blogging site, Twitter, has just announced a new relationship with Google. The announcement was made at the Q4 earnings call for 2014, when Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed during a question and answer session that Twitter had brokered an agreement to become partners with Google.

The changes won’t happen overnight since a fair amount of technical work will need to be undertaken behind the scenes, but within a few months Google search results will start showing live tweets. And when it does, Google will have direct access to Twitter’s ‘firehose’ of data – the name given to Twitter’s live data feed.

Not Such a Big Surprise

The big reveal didn’t come as too much of a shock to those in the know, as Bloomberg Business had already reported an agreement had been reached. When asked why Twitter has reinstated Google’s access to its data feed, Costolo responded with the following explanation:

“We’ve got the opportunity now to drive a lot of attention to and aggregate eyeballs, if you will, to these logged-out experiences, topics and events that we plan on delivering on the front page of Twitter. And that’s one of the reasons this makes a lot more sense for us now.”

Reading between the lines, Twitter is after greater visibility in the search results, which as we all know translates into more traffic, more advertising revenue, and more new sign-ups. And in the long-term, this could help Twitter gain greater traction against the likes of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

What’s the Difference?

You might be wondering what all of this means. After all, surely Google can just send its bots to Twitter and pick up tweets as they happen anyway, right? Actually no, although Google can and does capture some tweets, specifically the more popular ones, it isn’t able to pick up every single tweet in ‘real time’. With access to the Twitter firehose, Google will be able to index tweets as they happen, so its search results will be more relevant.

From Google’s perspective, this is a good thing, too. Google strives to have as much relevant information as possible and tweets are both timely and relevant – major news often breaks in the Twittersphere first. Of course this isn’t the first time Google has cultivated a cosy arrangement with Twitter. The last agreement ended three and a half years ago, so it is likely that the current deal won’t last forever either.