Twitter is reported to have struck a significant partnership with Google on the eve of its latest financial results. Bloomberg reports that the two companies have agreed to a deal to put real-time tweets from Twitter back into Google’s search results sometime “in the first half of this year.”
Twitter declined to comment when contacted the company for confirmation.
The partnership would give Google access to Twitter’s data ‘fire hose’ again, something that search rivals Yahoo and (Microsoft) Bing already enjoy. Twitter and Google struck a similar agreement back in 2009, but it was not renewed in 2011. That left Google needing to crawl the Twitter services to index tweet — a process that takes time. Terms of this apparent new deal will make tweets visible inside Google’s search results immediately after they are tweeted out.
This coming together would be significant for a couple of reasons. Bloomberg’s sources claim there is no advertising revenue deal here, but Google will reportedly pay “data-licensing” revenue. That’s a revenue line item that Twitter grew from $16 million to $41 million in the past year, and — with Google on board — there’s more to come.
Secondly, with Twitter expanding the scope of its advertising this week so that Promoted Tweets appear on third party apps and sites — starting with Flipboard and Yahoo Japan — the company is keen to pull in and monetize visitors to its service who are not registered Twitter users. Appearing more prominently in Google’s search results page could significantly boost this business.
The deal may be positive for Twitter, but it could have implications for Google’s own social network.
One of the positive features about Google+, the company’s own social service, was that updates prominently in search results — potentially driving new traffic websites and bringing more business for companies. The prospect of real-time Twitter returning is yet another signal that Google is stepping off the gas for Google+ — Vid Gundotra, who lead the service, left Google last April, as the company started viewing Google+ as a platform rather than a product.