Update: Google has responded to Twitter’s comments via Google+:
“We are a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer (http://goo.gl/chKwi), and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions.”
Add Twitter to the growing list of critics of Google’s practices of delivering search results.
As you may know by now, Google announced some new features for personalized search today. I’m not going to run through all of that again. You can read the rundown here.
Interestingly, Twitter is speaking out against the new changes, which they seem to think will make Twitter content less accessible to users. Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray, calls it a “bad day for the Internet”:
The company has been emailing around a statement, saying:
For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet.
Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results.
We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.
This is quite interesting. I don’t recall anything in Google’s announcement saying that it would no longer be including results from Twitter.
In fact, this mentality, to me, would have been more appropriate when Google and Twitter were unable to reach a deal to extend Google’s use of the Twitter firehose for realtime search, which I totally agree is a bad thing.
Google used to show tweets rolling in, in real time (or at least close to it) when people searched for timely topics. That is in line with what Twitter is talking about here. It doesn’t do that anymore, and that sucks, but I don’t see why making Google+ content more accessible in Google results is making Twitter results less accessible than they were yesterday.
Perhaps Twitter knows something that the rest of us don’t.
Actually, Google Fellow Amit Singhal (who announced the changes) is quoted as saying:
“Facebook and Twitter and other services, basically, their terms of service don’t allow us to crawl them deeply and store things. Google+ is the only [network] that provides such a persistent service. Of course, going forward, if others were willing to change, we’d look at designing things to see how it would work.”
In other words, if Google was granted access to the Twitter and Facebook data it needs to put that content into the results, it would probably do so – at least that appears to be Google’s position on things.