Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Dumps on Google for Pushing Google+ in Search

Twitter is now officially speaking out against Google’s new search features that give prominent placement to content from its own social network, Google+.

In a statement, Twitter complained that “people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users” would suffer from not being able to quickly see tweets in search results.

“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,” the company said.

Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray, among other thought leaders who criticized Google’s Google-centric approach, had already personally called today’s launch a “bad day for the Internet.”

Google and Twitter have a history on this topic. Like most public Web sites, Twitter likes to get traffic from Google. Google used to have a paid deal to get real-time access to Twitter’s live “firehose” of tweets. It doesn’t anymore (though Bing does).

That doesn’t mean Google isn’t allowed to show tweets in its search results, or anything like that. Google just has to use its crawlers and other publicly available tools to index public tweets. And almost all tweets — of which there are 250 million per day — are public.

Here’s the full statement from Twitter:

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.

Of course, Twitter isn’t the only social service that Google is pushing down deep into search results, or ignoring completely. While Google may have worked with Twitter in the past, it did not include public Facebook content in its previous social search efforts, either.

In a statement sent to AllThingsD, a Google spokesperson said: “We want to help you find the most relevant information from your friends and social connections, no matter what site it’s on. However, Google does not have access to fully crawl the content on some sites, so it’s not possible for us to surface all that information. Ushering in the new era of social and private data search will take close cooperation, and we hope other sites participate so we can provide the best possible experience for our users.”

Update: Google later put up a post on its Google+ account that’s not written in Spokespersonese. It said: “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.”

When I asked for clarification, I was told Twitter instructed Google to ignore the fact that links to Web pages are included in tweets, and that their inclusion shouldn’t influence the search ranking of those Web pages.


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