Google and Twitter have finally reached a new deal that will see Google indexing tweets in real time, according to a report from Bloomberg (and apparently confirmed by Re/code). The deal hasn't been formally announced, and the terms are unknown.
The report says tweets will become visible in Google's search results as soon as they're posted starting in the first half of this year. It's unclear if Google will restore the realtime search feature it used to have when it had access to those tweets in the past. In those days, there was a section at the top of some search results pages reserved for tweets and realtime updates from Twitter (though Twitter provided the bulk of them, and were often the most useful).
When the two companies failed to renew their deal four years ago, Google ended up dropping its realtime search feature altogether. There was little point to it without Twitter. It also made put a kink in Google's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible. The Twitterverse spews out a great deal of information every second, and it's been a lot more accessible on Twitter itself than on Google.
In fact, Twitter has taken steps to improve its own search features in the time since the two companies grew apart. As recently as November, Twitter announced that it indexed every public tweet since 2006, making its search engine much more comprehensive in terms of the content it can retrieve.
“This new infrastructure enables many use cases, providing comprehensive results for entire TV and sports seasons, conferences (#TEDGlobal), industry discussions (#MobilePayments), places, businesses and long-lived hashtag conversations across topics, such as #JapanEarthquake, #Election2012, #ScotlandDecides, #HongKong, #Ferguson and many more," Twitter’s Yi Zhuang said in a blog post.
Even before that, Twitter said at an analyst event that it wanted to do more to generate more search traffic. The company revealed that earlier in the year it had made a change allowing Google and other search engines to crawl its top 50,000 hashtagged search pages.
As far as Google is concerned, Twitter content is largely best as it happens, and that's what this deal will enable. If you want to know what's being said by people about something that's happening right now, you'll presumably be able to get a good sense of that right from Google rather than having to open up Twitter.
It will be quite interesting to see how this works with mobile, as mobile search (Google in particular) has come a long way over the past four years.
Neither company appears to be commenting on the news at this point.
Twitter's user growth often comes into question, and investors have grown impatient. This can only help the company in that department.
Image via Twitter