Earlier in May this year Google announced on their blog that they would begin integrating tweets into their mobile search results. Now, that same feature is being rolled out introduced to desktop search results as well.
Searching for names, topics, or the titles of businesses will now bring up search results that include tweets made by or about your search key. For instance, googling the phrase “Windows 95”, a currently trending topic on Twitter due to this being the 20th anniversary of its roll-out, brings up a collection of real-time tweets containing the keyword. Googling a name, such as “Barack Obama”, pulls up the latest tweets made from the President’s Twitter account.
While Google has linked to Twitter accounts and even individual tweets for some time now, this upgrade means that the content of the tweets will now be displayed on the search results page. Photos, text, and links are all visible without clicking the link to go to Twitter itself. The tweets appear on a carousel-like box, which allows you to scroll through multiple tweets while still staying on the search results page.
While hashtags can be searched for, the hashtag symbol is not always required to pull up Twitter results, at least not for popular topics.
At this point the feature is only available for English search results, but Google has stated that they are working on adding other languages the same feature. However, it currently isn’t clear how soon this will be available on a global scale.
This feature comes long after an agreement between Google and Twitter was made in 2009 for virtually the same type of arrangement. However, that contract expired in 2011 and was not renewed for various reasons. It wasn’t until earlier this year that this new arrangement was agreed upon.
Since Twitter has recently seen a slight decrease in the amount of new users they have, this feature may help them stay relevant and perhaps encourage more interaction. By bringing tweets into the search result spotlight they will likely encourage brands and businesses to keep an active Titter account.
How this will affect the way an average person tweets is unclear. At this point there is a lot that we don’t know, such as how quickly a deleted tweet will also be removed from the search results.
There are other things which aren’t quite clear, such as the question of how a tweet’s popularity will affect it’s probability of being included in the search results, or how Google will include results when a common name is searched for.
In fact, at this point it isn’t clear whether this feature will only extend to popular topics and well-known people, or if a person with an average amount of followers can expect to see their recent tweets show up when googling their own name. So far it seems that these results only show up when newsworthy issues, trending topics, or well-known people are searched for.
Another unclear aspect is the question of how widespread this rollout currently is. While Google has simply stated that it is only available for English search results, some people are saying that they aren’t yet seeing Twitter results in their searches. Since other features of Google sometimes take a few days before they work for everyone, it seems likely that some users will have to wait a few days before they see the tweets in their search results.
But despite the fact that there are many questions which are yet to be answered about this new feature, there are several obvious facts.
First of all, this will definitely help cement Twitter as a leader in social media. Also, Google will benefit from the fact that their search results will be enhanced with a broader range of content.
Finally, Twitter will likely see new users because of this feature, as the ability to see other people’s tweets on trending issues will likely cause others to sign up so as to be able to chime in to the conversation with their own opinions.
Since Google is one of the most popular tools for finding information, and Twitter is a great way to gauge what people are saying about things, this arrangement seems to be a great pair-up. Both companies will benefit, and so will the people using their services.