Google is testing a feature that brings Twitter into Google News. It’s not just the addition of tweets into the news mix, but rather a way for users to personalize their experience using the people they follow on Twitter. It makes sense that Twitter is integrated with Google News, and I would not be surprised to see this emerge as a an actual feature, after testing.
The feature consists of a box, that asks you to connect to your Twitter account to see when people you follow are talking about the news. According to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land, who provides the following screenshot, it only displays tweets from people who are sharing content that is actually indexed by Google News. This makes sense too.
Image via Search Engine Land
"Twitter has come out several times now and said straight up – it is not a social network," says Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb . "Rather, it is a medium for discussing politics, entertainment and, more importantly, disseminating news."
Whether or not Twitter is a social network is debatable, but it is clearly more, and has always been considered a way to consume news, not to mention a way to break it. I’m sure we will see further integrations of Twitter and news as time goes on. Google of course already has realtime search, which consists largely of Twitter content (with other sources sprinkled in), which generally only displays in regular web searches for topics that are currently being actively discussed. These topics are usually based on some kind of news.
It will be interesting to see if Facebook data is worked into Google News in a similar fashion. Google doesn’t have access to the kind of data for Facebook that it does Twitter, but they are able to pull in public Facebook data. They’re already doing so for realtime search. Google wants more Facebook data, however, and they seem to think they’ll get what they covet one way or another. However, in this case, I would think some kind of Open Graph or Facebook Connect integration would suffice, for personalizing the Google News experience.
Of course, we don’t even know if the Twitter integration will become a real feature. As Google likes to say quite often, "At any given time we are running between 50-200 search experiments. You can learn more on our blog."