Twitter-Google Deal Lets Tweets Show Up in Search Results
Search for certain terms using Google on your iPhone or Android device, and you'll now see a selection of live and relevant tweets on the results page. Enabled by Twitter's decision to once again provide Google with full access to its "firehose," the feature is launching first for English-speaking mobile users in the U.S. It will eventually be rolled out to other languages as well as to desktop users.
Twitter hasn't provided Google with direct access to its live data feed since its previous arrangement with the search giant came to an end in 2011. Since then, Google has provided Twitter content in searches, but it tended to be a sampling of tweets, rather than a representative feed of the thousands that go out every minute.
With the new arrangement, a carousel of "Popular on Twitter" Tweets may appear at the top of a search page, or farther down in the results. Tapping on any of the tweets will take users directly to Twitter to view more content.
More Countries in 'Coming Months'
The new Twitter feature on mobile search is "a great way to get real-time info when something is happening," Senior Product Manager Ardan Arac said Tuesday in a post on Google's official blog. "And it's another way for organizations and people on Twitter to reach a global audience at the most relevant moments."
A Google search for "Taylor Swift," for example, will pull up results that show the latest tweets from the singer. Search terms do not have to include the word "Twitter" or "tweet" for those results to appear.
"The desktop Web version is coming shortly, and we have plans to bring this feature to more countries in the coming months," Vice President of Global Business Development & Platform Jana Messerschmidt noted in Twitter blog post on Tuesday.
Driving More Twitter Traffic
Google isn't providing any details on how it determines which tweets are most relevant in a search, or why there might be times when no Twitter content comes up.
The new arrangement clearly benefits Twitter by driving more Google-related search traffic to its site, according to Danny Sullivan, Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. When news of the pending deal first emerged in February, Sullivan noted that a previous change made to help Google access more of its content resulted in 10 times as many logged-out visitors coming to Twitter.
"Partnering fully with Google will make it likely much more of Twitter's relevant content will appear before Google visitors, sending Twitter lots of traffic that it can use to convert into new Twitter users or to show ads," Sullivan wrote.
According to its first-quarter financial report for 2015, Twitter now averages 302 million monthly active users around the world. However, its rate of ad engagement growth has been steadily and dramatically shrinking since last year, from 694 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 32 percent in the first quarter of this year. It reported revenues of $436 million for Q1 2015, with most of that -- $388 million -- coming from advertising dollars, as opposed to data licensing and other fees.