Twitter CEO Dick Costolo spoke at a Wired conference in New York today, and reportedly indicated that the company continues to talk to Google.
For a little context, Google and Twitter used to be partners. Google had access to Twitter’s fire hose, and was able to use that to provide realtime search results. It was awesome. You could get up-to-the-second (or at least relatively close) search results from Twitter right in your Google results. This was particularly helpful sometimes on news-related queries – particularly breaking news and developing stories. Sure, you could always get this from Twitter, but it was nice to have it right there in the search engine you’re already using, which is supposed to be indexing the world’s information and making it universally accessible anyway. The results didn’t all come from Twitter, but the bulk of them did.
In fact, the feature relied so heavily on Twitter that it went away when the two companies failed to reach an agreement to extend their partnership last year.
With certain developing stories, the lack of such a feature left a gaping hole in Google’s search results.
The relationship between Google and Twitter appeared to grow rockier earlier this year, when Google launched Search Plus Your World, its new personalized results, which appeared to heavily favor Google+ content. While some aspects of the offering still do, Google released an algorithm change a while back that appeared to make Google+ favored not quite so heavily. Twitter had initially raised a public stink about it, and one has to wonder if the company’s position has eased up a little by this point.
So, today, at the Wired conference, Business Insider reports that Costolo told an audience, when asked about Google, “We continue to talk to Google frequently and on an ongoing basis. They are a company that’s doing several different things right now. Those conversations have a complexity to them that is different than our conversations with the company.”
I’m not even sure what that means, but he reportedly said the exact same thing a second time, when asked again, and said that he would continue to give the same answer if asked about it anymore.
At least they’re talking. Earlier this year, there were reports that the companies had canceled at least one meeting.
Twitter announced some improvements to its Discover tab today, which illustrate how Twitter is improving in realtime search and information discovery. Meanwhile, Google keeps trying to freshen up organic results.