Does Google Need Twitter?

Can Google get realtime search right without Tweets?

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Does Google Need Twitter?
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As previously reported, Google is talking about bringing back its Realtime Search feature. It’s been missing since last month because Google and Twitter couldn’t agree on terms to extend their partnership which gave Google access to the firehose – the source of all tweets in realtime – a crucial factor of what’s going on “right now”.

Do you think realtime search is an important feature for Google to have? Tell us what you think.

When Google’s deal with Twitter expired, Google said the following in a statement, as reported by Search Engine Land:

Since October of 2009, we have had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results through a special feed, and that agreement expired on July 2. While we will not have access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that’s publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always as helpful (though it certainly can be from time to time) outside of the realtime context.

As Ben Parr reported, Google’s Amit Singhal said they’re working on bringing it back using Google+ and “other sources”.

Now, it’s important to remember that Twitter was not the only thing powering Google’s realtime search in the first place. It also included (and presumably still will include) Google Buzz posts, public Facebook Page updates, MySpace posts, Google News sources, blogs, Quora, Friendfeed, Jaiku, Gowalla, Twitgoo, TwitArmy, Me2Day, Identi.ca, and regular web pages that were simply newly updated (Google can index pretty quickly thanks to Caffeine). Now it will also apparently include Google+ when it comes back.

Given the fact that when it lost Twitter, it shut down the feature entirely, it seems fairly obvious that Twitter was a very critical element. If you ever used the feature much, it was pretty clear that the majority of content was coming from Twitter. So the real question becomes: Can Google+ replace Twitter as a source of realtime updates?

Maybe Google should try to at least go another year using Twitter for realtime search, and give Google+ a chance to match it in content. The incredible growth is there, but you’re not getting the kind of stuff on Google+ that you’re getting on Twitter. Not at this point.

We’ve made the case that Google+ could maim Twitter. A lot of people have already claimed that their Google+ time is eating into their Twitter time (more so than their Facebook time). In many ways, Google+ is much more comparable to Twitter – especially in the area of public updates – what makes realtime search go ’round.

It’s not there yet though. Twitter has the celebrities, all of the brands, the years of establishing its reputation, the revolutions in the Middle East, the news media inserting it into report after report, etc. Many people have only recently started getting into Twitter, and likely don’t want to jump into another network already. They’re just getting used to Twitter.

Google+ does already have a great deal of information. I won’t dispute that. This is especially true for the Internet industry – many players of which, are also early adopters of the service. Sure, it has a few celebrities, and brands are coming. Are you going to get the kind of breaking news from average citizens that you get from Twitter though?

I don’t think so. Not yet anyway. Are you going to get things like the Hudson River emergency plane landing? The live tweeting of the Bin Laden raid? The high profile Tim Tebow wars? Not so much. Again, not yet anyway. Not to anywhere near the same extent, at least.

It has a familiarity to the general public, and it’s open to them. Google+ isn’t even open to the general public without invitation, and they’re already talking about using it to power the realtime search features, which was mainly powered by Twitter?

If you want to see up to the second results from around the world on what people are saying about any given topic, where do you go? Google+ or Twitter?

If Google really wants to organize the world’s information, maybe it needs to fork out enough money to get that firehose back. At least for a while. The early days are promising, but it’s still entirely possible that Google+ could turn into another Google Buzz or worse yet, another Google Wave.

Google did reportedly indicate that they’re working on bringing a search feature to Google+. That would be a start. I still can’t believe Google of all companies launched such an important strategic product without search in the first place.

Do you you think Google+ can replace Twitter for realtime search? Let us know in the comments.

Does Google Need Twitter?
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  • david

    No way. I don’t think so.

  • Cormac

    I never found it useful, always a hindrance and it never added any value to the results pages.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      What about organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible?

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    It will take Google+ a long time, as you say, to match what Google gets from Twittter so if they’re not using Twitter any more perhaps they’ve decided that real-time search isn’t a priority.

  • http://www.e-crm.co.uk Richard Hill

    Google+ is nice but Twitter is still simple and that really is it’s strength. I am not sure that Google as a search company ‘gets’ social – it’s great an ‘product development’ but most of its social stuff has gone nowehere fast.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      So far, they’ve got some work to do in social-related search. We’re still waiting on Google+ to have a proper search function. Still can’t believe that wasn’t there at launch.

  • http://www.thefreelancersguide.info work at home review

    hmmm..for me..why don’t they develop a program or features like twitter have as they have lots of member from now… :( I think they don’t need it.. develop that kind of feature instead. :P

  • http://www.hamnerbarber.com BransonMagic

    Twitter is by far the most user friendly and with sooo many apps and integration plug-ins already established and in use, Google+ needs to mature and promote to be competitive. Twitter’s name even sounds fun… Google+ ???

  • http://www.patantconsult.com/articlesvault Carla Lendor

    Twitter results on Google hardly ever entices me to click. Moreso, because it use has been blocked from access in the workplace. I do access it on my mobile, yet I don’t use it search feature. Twitter is my preferred SM tool and to a lesser extent facebook and linkedIn respectively. Google+ can’t be accessed via mobile and as such I really don’t use it. Who does an appliaction that does not support mobile access. So yeah I guess in the short term it does need twitter. It appears that at the moment it is falling over its feet.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      There are Android and iPhone apps for Google+.

  • Toni

    OK, from the perspective of an economist;

    Twitter is the gem of the crown, and both Facebook and Google have been flirting with it. Facebook really needs Twitters to give more content to its SM. Google doesn’t really need Twitter, but it is awared about how important Twitter is for Facebook. There is a corporate battle for the lead online, and a wise movement for Google would be to take over Twitter before Facebook, especially after Microsoft taking over Skype. On the other hand, Facebook could suffer the same fate that MySpace without Twitter (or LinkedIn); very fun, very beautiful, and very useless from a business perspective.

  • http://gorangrooves.com Drum Tracks by GoranGrooves

    It would be nice to have Google still index Twitter feed as well as other, just like it used to. Perhaps once it brings in their Google+ feed, it will add the others to them. Time will tell.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      It would be helpful if Google+ had a search feature itself (besides people search).

  • http://how-to-internet-marketing-articles-vi.blogspot.com/ Ramiro Rodriguez

    Hi Chris,

    I know I just woke up…but Google+ does have a search feature…it’s called Sparks, and I’ve used it. Sparks may not be real-time but it’s still a search engine.

    I do miss the real-time search and I’m sure Google will bring it back in one form or another.

    This is a wait and see game at this point, but I do have to say bloggers are creating a big buzz just speculating on what Google is going to do and when it’s going to do it.

    Hope you’re well!

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Sparks is more a content discovery tool along the lines of StumbleUpon, in my opinion. Yes, it has a search tool, which will return web results based on your query. It doesn’t search Google+ itself. It’s there for you to find links to share on Google+.

  • http://marketsecrets.biz Market Secrets Blogger

    Heres an idea: google could introduce the ability for users to add their Twitter feed and allowing it to be shown along w circle activity in their G Plus accounts. This way the feeds become a choice instead of it being forced especially considering the number of ppl who dont think twitter results are necessary directly within the search engine itself…otherwise, Big G should just make a generous offer to buy Twitter out completely :idea:

  • http://so-cal-strippersconnection.com/ Lauren

    I guess only time will tell… Goggle is always a constant change.

  • http://zackles.com Smiley smiles

    why would google need this? twitter feeds are mostly irrelavent spam. Only when a story gets hot do people start blowing up twitter

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      While there is plenty irrelevant spam on Twitter, I’m not sure I would consider it to be mostly that. Those times when a story gets hot, as you say, are generally the times when Google has added its realtime search results into the regular search results (via universal search). – when they’re more likely to be relevant.

  • http://www.china-blister.net KEVIN

    Yes,I think google need twitter.

  • http://www.stresshives.org/ Stress Hives

    Thanks for your interesting article about Twitter and Google. Joined Twitter a year ago and you are right, not going to switch to Google+. The other thing Google+ is on invitation only as far as I know.

  • http://www.webhosting.uk.com/ Rachael

    Real time search results give better information; however as far as Google is concerned, the search results can always be relied on. Google+ is a great platform and if search results are added to it, the efficiency will increase.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      Won’t dispute that Google+ is a good platform, but it’s got a long way to go to become as useful as Twitter in terms of finding up-to-the-second info about specific topics.

  • http://www.i2space.com i2space

    My opinion twitter should need GOOGLE. Because, no one is going for twitter directly with out search engine. All the tweets cannot be shown manual by twitter it need google. Only the optimizers go directly for twitter and no normal users do.

  • http://tvinlive.blogspot.com/ TV WATCHER

    Thank you for your interesting article. But do not you think that the function is the next Google + PR from the company? This function, it puts pressure on others.

  • http://www.thedirecttree.com John

    Google will make sure that google+ is a sucess and will do anyhting to help it along which means G+ real time is only a question of time.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum


  • http://pilotincanada.com Pilot License

    Google is really taking over everything. Makes sense since a quarter of everything somehow has google implemented into their business.

  • http://www.tapsbathrooms.com Terry

    I would say yes Google does need Twitter!

    The Social Media side of things is to important for Google to waver – especially with the new +1 feature.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I think there are a lot more people tweeting content than +1ing it.

  • http://www.website-consultancy.com/ Penzance

    Google+ at the minute is quite elitist – whereas Twitter is for everyone – how good can that be in Google Search, I agree give it another year with Twitter.

  • http://www.murosdearrimo.com.br murosarrimo

    MURO DE ARRIMO, Construtora, Construção de galpão,calculo muro de arrimo, engenharia.11 2579-7980 MRH Construção civil.

  • http://billsbigmlmblog.blogspot.com/ Bill Gelwick

    The feature is all but useless without twitter. Although I have 5 twitter accounts, i do not utilize it as much as I should, but I was getting some good traffic through the real time search function via twitter before it was done away with.

  • http://www,theanaloguerevolution.com Pete

    I think they can do it without twitter, their volume of information for real time searhc will be far less using Google+ but most of the stories/news will be on G+ as well as twitter. A large part of the content on twitter is people retweeting the same news. Anything that appears on twitter first (beacuse more people have it so the first person to see the news is more likely to be on twitter) will soon be on G+

  • http://www.i2space.com johnpaul

    I don’t think so…but Google is wealthy enough to play the long game.

  • http://shoutly.me shoutly

    google dogged it. google + is artificial too. 90 million users, but only a few % actually use it

  • http://paintfly.tumblr.com paintfly

    They dont need eachother

  • http://paintfly.tumblr.com paintfly

    Social mention is pretty good

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