Tweets in Google are on the way…

Again.

Twitter Changes Its Mind About Google…

Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced that Google would be given access to Twitter’s tweet feed – otherwise known as the “firehose” of tweets. Costolo didn’t offer up too many details about the impending partnership.

But he did hint that they intend to use the new deal to draw in new users. In response to questions, he said that Twitter has “the opportunity now to drive a lot of attention to and aggregate eyeballs, if you will, to these logged-out experiences…”

The clear implication is that Twitter intends to drive searchers to its content in order to build its user base and, consequently, its revenue stream.

Twitter’s change of heart has been in the works for a while, however. This partnership comes a few months after Twitter tried improving its SEO in order to increase visibility in Google. According to Search Engine Land, Twitter’s SEO efforts increased logged-out visits by 1000%.

Could This Spell the Beginning of Realtime search…Again?

In 2009, Twitter and Google signed the first deal that would allow tweets to appear in search results. This was called Google Real Time search, a feature that would display real-time information from Twitter inside Google search results.

The goal of Google Realtime search was to display a stream high quality information as it flowed in from Twitter. This feed was designed to include a variety of sources in addition to Twitter’s firehose, such as Google News content, Google Blog Search content, newly created web pages, and updates from other feeds.

Eventually, Realtime Search incorporated more than a dozen sources, including Quora, MySpace, and Facebook fan page updates. But Twitter content dominated.

In fact, Twitter was so critical to the project that when it left, Realtime Search fell apart.

No one really knows why the two companies split. Some rumors suggested that the more Twitter relied on Google for search, the less people would use its internal search engine. This would, in turn, cut into ad-based revenue.

Twitter’s underwhelming growth in the past few years may have finally made an impact on the company’s strategy. New user retention has been cited as the reason for the network’s slow growth.

Common complaints from new users – and veterans who abandon the site – include the fact that it’s difficult to navigate through all the information, let alone understand the purpose of the site.

A few months ago, Twitter unveiled a number of user interface changes, such as the Instant Timeline. This feature would start new users off with a feed of interesting, relevant tweets, rather than just displaying a blank timeline.

These developments indicate a clear decision in the direction of growth and expansion. And the new/old partnership with Google certainly forms a part of its growth strategy.

Here are a few other improvements that Twitter has been making to its interface and overall product package:

  • Users will be able to search the entire archive of public tweets. One of Twitter’s engineers wrote a blog post indicating that users would be able to “search through every Tweet ever published.” This totals around half a trillion tweets.  
  • Video will enter the limelight. Users can now capture and edit video. Before this, Vine’s 6-second looping videos was the only way to capture and watch video through Twitter. As many people know, Twitter has played a huge role in many news stories and worldwide events – some feel that this could revolutionize grassroots journalism.
  • Users can privately share tweets. If you’d like to just share a tweet with another user, via a direct message, then that’s now a possibility.
  • Twitter meets Facebook with the “While You Were Away” and Timeline Highlights features. Some have expressed displeasure at the idea that Twitter is using Facebook News Feed-style algorithms to sort tweets…but that’s what’s happening. The best tweets from your network will float to the top of your timeline the next time you log in. And the Timeline Highlights mixes an algorithm-driven feed with the classic river of unfiltered tweets.

All of this is part of the “stimulus package” to inject and retain new users included targeted search advertising, banner ads, and pushing its marketing efforts for events such as the Japanese music festival to the cricket world cup.

In a statement released in November, Twitter said that it could reach the “largest daily audience in the world” and become one of the “top revenue generating Internet companies in the world.”

While many features and apps remain to be seen, the strategy is obvious: broaden the network’s appeal for a broader audience. Though Costolo’s recent presentation filled some with hope, others aren’t as optimistic. One analyst said that “the core problem of how you make Twitter simpler and easier to use for the mass market is still unclear.”

 

Despite the uncertain future, Twitter does finally appear to be committed to broadening its appeal through product evolution, revenue generation, and user acquisition. And by integrating with Google, the company may get the boost it needs to succeed.

Marketing Tweets in Google: An Old Partnership Returns