Twitter’s searchability has been a noticeable issue between it and search engine titan Google for quite some time now. The collapse of their original indexing agreement was a good example of how even multinational organisations can ignore increased profits and customer satisfaction, through over-competitiveness.
While it seemed logical for these two vital online entities to cooperate, that cooperation was impeded by Google’s aggressive 2011 marketing campaign for its own competing social platform G+, which saw Twitter accusing it of favouritism in its indexing practices, and finally cutting off access to its Twitter firehose (as the real-time tweet API is known).
But now, it seems as if time, and industry-scale competitive threats, has finally settled the bad blood between these two services in a change that could not only see a massive shift in Google’s SERPs but also revolutionise the way in which data and search queries are handled by Google.
A Win-Win Situation
On one side, Google will now be able to make use of data and return content from one of the worlds most popular and dynamic social media platforms (and by extension, content creators).
There’s no beating Twitter for freshness and relevance. Even most news stations use it as a primary source (or even as the news itself). It quantitatively reflects humanity’s opinions and values, on any given topic, and Google will be interacting with this content in real-time. Which means results can once again be right on the pulse of news, instead of minutes or even hours behind.
The enhanced cultural and psychographic data Google will have access to will also let them more accurately value bids on Google Ads keywords, based on real-time trends. The semantic search data will also be invaluable, providing insights on how ideas are connected and linguistic diversity, from over 500 million daily tweets.
On Twitter’s side, they’ll be able to have their content included in many of the 3.5 billion daily Google search queries. It’ll be an exciting (re-visited) business avenue for Twitter, who have seen their growth rate half in the last 3 years, to just 14% at the end of 2014. They also hope it will increase user activity, as people who use Google will naturally be led back to Twitter, as the tweets match their queries.
Potential Business Model of the Future
These developments come in wake of Apple’s recent acquisition and successful use of Topsy, a leading real-time Twitter analytics company, and the expiring search provider agreement between Apple and Google (ironically, also due to tensions over Google’s new modular smartphone, Project Ara), which will see Apple using Bing as Spotlight and Siri’s search engine in future, for all its devices, which could create a real threat for the once immoveable search engine leader.
There’s been no word on Facebook’s reaction to this or whether they will consider indexing their content in future. Similarly, neither Google nor Twitter has indicated that there will be a share in ad revenue generated from the partnership. However, it has been confirmed that sponsored tweets, (effectively Twitter advertising), won’t be part of the Twitter firehose.
At the moment the biggest obstacles to Google’s and Twitter’s growth are technological limitations in the developing world and political roadblocks, such as in China.
As you might imagine, these types of complex global economic factors aren’t the kind of things a marketing campaign and sales drive can solve, but this move might help them grow in ways that eschew normative metrics of business growth.
When a company reaches the level of market leader, it typically competes for increased market share, diversifies or vertically integrates. What we’re seeing here is exciting ways that even massive competing companies can form partnerships that seek to optimise on their existing business and find a competitive advantage without direct outward uncontrolled growth.
And on this rare occasion, we as the user may actually benefit quite a lot from this corporate cooperation.