Mike Isaac

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With New Twitter Partnership, Yahoo Folds Tweets Into Its News Stream

twicon380Yahoo announced on Thursday a new partnership between the companies that will bring select tweets from Twitter directly into the Yahoo News stream.

For now, it seems a fairly basic integration of Twitter accounts and actual tweets into Yahoo’s flowing news-content stream; think of it as seeing some select Twitter items placed in between the curated Yahoo News stories.

“Tweets have become an important information source for many of our users,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in a company blog post. “From music to sports, news to entertainment, we’re committed to delivering our users the very best of the web, and our continued partnership with Twitter is an exciting leap forward in our endeavors.”

That makes sense, considering how Twitter has been treated in recent times by the news media itself. Think of recent major media events like the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt: News actually broke on Twitter before news organizations were able to get to the scene and cover what was going on, and many outlets — including CNN and other live broadcast networks — were directing users to tweets to tell them what was going on.

Of course, this gets into an entire debate on the accuracy and role of social media in ongoing news coverage, but we’ll sidestep that one for now.

It’s also a win for Twitter, which basically gets a bunch of free distribution of its tweets on Yahoo’s main news page. Yahoo News still has a massive audience. If folks who aren’t already using Twitter return to Yahoo’s news stream daily and continue to see tweets and Twitter accounts, that’s easy potential for converting new users over to the social platform.

As far as Yahoo’s benefit, you might want to note how many times Marissa Mayer said that tweets will be “personalized” in that particular blog post. “Personalization” has been Yahoo’s huge pitch to court users into making Yahoo their destination site for the Web, including signing them up for Yahoo profiles. The more Yahoo can tout a personalized experience tailored to what the user wants, the better that pitch becomes over time.

It’s not clear right now if having a signed-in Yahoo profile connected to your Twitter account will affect what tweets will appear in that news feed, but I’d imagine if Mayer wants to claim true personalization, that would be a good way to do it.

It’s also not clear if Yahoo News editors are curating the tweets themselves, or if they’ll have their news algorithms do the work (we’ve asked Yahoo for clarification). Update 1:21 p.m. PST: Here we go — a Yahoo spokesperson provides me with clarification on this: “The initial list of content sources was editorially curated for relevance and quality, but the Tweets shown on the homepage have been algorithmically selected. The pool of eligible Tweets is further filtered to minimize spam and undesirable content.”

A question: Does this partnership mean we could see tweets appear inside of Yahoo’s search results someday?

No telling exactly, but Yahoo certainly leaves the door open: “We do not currently display Tweets in our search results, but we deeply value our partnership with Twitter and are always looking into ways we can integrate Twitter into our products,” a Yahoo spokesperson told AllThingsD.

Expect to see the tweets roll out in the Yahoo News feed on the desktop and mobile Web in the coming days.


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