Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Twitter Reaches Deal to Show Tweets in Google Search Results (bloomberg.com)
85 points by knes on Feb 5, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

I don't think Twitter realizes the value of their own search engine. If Twitter could dedicate more resources towards approximate string matching, and put Twitter search as the main attraction on the logged out homepage, it could drive adoption of Twitter among casual users. I should be able to search "new Mugabe meme" after hearing about it, and Twitter should show me pictures of his recent fall, with real-time updates.

But as of now it's pretty much an exact match search, which is frustrating if you don't know the exact term you're looking for(in my example, the exact term is "Mugabe fall"). On to of that, it's hidden away from the logged out homepage. Rather than tackle this problem themselves, they've outsourced the heavy lifting to Google. What a MySpace move

I disagree, I think they did this in order to capture more users. Not everyone uses Twitter. I believe Twitter is shooting for the "everyone" demographic, not just kids, the media/artists and tech-savvy people who got into it "before it was cool". If that is true, that means they are attempting to leverage Google, which everyone's already using, in an attempt to boost their legitimacy as a source of real-time information and get more exposure. Twitter's a media company, after all, so they are looking for more and more exposure whenever they can get it. It wouldn't be surprising to see your strategy implemented at Twitter after this deal has come and gone, if Twitter is playing their cards right they will have actually used Google to steal at least some of Google's search traffic away from them.

That said, I also don't believe Twitter's long game is search. I think they're trying to re-invent how we access information. Instead of searching for something, what if you could subscribe to a topic and just get information handed to you constantly?

> Not everyone uses Twitter.

Twitter in particular is one of the cases where places like HN disappointingly fall for the fallacy of assuming that their observations are an unbiased sample (and thus that "most/tons of people use Twitter"). Twitter's numbers have always been shockingly low (compared to their influence); I remember finding out a couple years ago that active members of the narrowest possible metric of actual social usage of Google+ roughly matched or outpaced Twitter (this was before many of the integrations like Youtube which may have drawn more people to the G+ stream). That was the case for quite a long amount of time.

It's probably great news for Twitter that their user numbers so badly lag their influence, since that means the potential for growth is very, very high (though it does raise the question why this gap exists to such an unusual degree).

Definitely true! I think they're also going for other places where Twitter doesn't affect most people, talk South America, Africa, Asia... It's just this North American perspective that gets people out of context. The world's kind of a big place, y'know

There were some rumors [1] recently that Google was considering to buy Twitter.

Now I don't know if there's anything to that, but in light of Facebook snatching up Instagram, (not to mention WhatsApp), Google moving in on Twitter seems like a fairly logical counter-move.

And just think of all the data!

My point is, this deal might be at Google's initiative, not Twitter's, and might represent the first step in that direction. It's just conjecture, of course..

[1]: http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/23/google-is-absolutely-posit...

I don't understand how this is a good deal for Twitter, Stackoverflow and any website that generates content and makes money using ads

Google generates revenue via ads, the same business you are in. And Google has a huge advantage. Embedding content into their search stream makes Google better, and stickier.

If Twitter is giving away it's content to Google, it's probably not at the premium it could charge for ads on it's marketplace but at huge discount via an API

This doesn't fair well for any website in this category. Google has found a way to compete with you for page views

I think this may be a play to make Twitter more valuable for SEO. Google is relying more and more on third party social. This may be an attempt to make marketers more excited about buying promoted posts etc.

If it wasn't a good deal, Twitter wouldn't be doing it. They were in the position of power and chose to trade it for something.

Twitters growth hasn't been the greatest over the past little while, improving their discoverability and brand power is bound to help them in the future. And there's always the potential for promoted tweets to show up in Google searches, which in turn helps twitter sell more ads.

>If it wasn't a good deal, Twitter wouldn't be doing it.

People make bad deals all the time. Surely the issue isn't that more people need to discover Twitter, but that they have to make more money from those who are already on it?

But since marketeers basically consider "reach" to be the most significant measure of utility the two points are necessarily in conflict. Bottom line could be that if you have more reach, your paid services are more valuable.

This is most likely to fuel user growth (which has been slowing down).

They can always renegotiate at some point down the line.

I think this is the answer. Longer term, it's probably not something that is in Twitter's interests, but it's not a bad thing to revisit whenever they need to expose Twitter to Google's firehose to grow their own userbase.

You know how you sometimes get recent and relevant news articles when searching? News sites love that. Free traffic.

What am I missing here? How does seeing tweets (unless they are intelligently selected) help me when searching for something on Google?

As of late: I only rely on Google for finding the best place to get an answer for a question I know exists in reliable places for the subject matter (re: programming, cooking, etc.). If I suddenly start seeing tweets in my search results, how does that improve my search experience?

The immediate exception that comes to mind would be related to real-time events, but even then...how much value can 140 characters be for the website that has indexed "everything?"

Might be something like Bing where searching a famous person's name would return a lot of content about them [1], such as their social media links, songs, movies or TV shows they were involved in [2], Wikipedia excerpts, photos, etc. They might just embed that user's tweets or something in the search results now. Also note the "Tweeted about Bill Gates" section in the first link.

[1] http://www.bing.com/search?q=Bill+Gates&go=Submit&qs=n&form=...

[2] http://www.bing.com/search?q=Pharrell&go=Submit&qs=n&form=QB...

I find Google search to be an incredible tool 99% of the tie, but multiple times recently I've tried looking something realtime up ("holy crap there's a ton of smoke coming from X part of town", "what are those loudspeakers I can hear in the distance, is there a protest going on or something?"), and Google News doesn't turn up anything for quite some time.

I'm not a particularly big fan of Twitter, but it pretty reliably will have a mention of something like that pretty quickly.

> How does seeing tweets (unless they are intelligently selected) help me when searching for something on Google?

Google is probably smart enough to realize users don't want tweets for every query.

> If I suddenly start seeing tweets in my search results, how does that improve my search experience?

It'd be useful if users explicitly search for it, like [superbowl tweets], a trending hashtag, or a breaking news/event. Though, how they decide to present the tweets would be a ui/ux challenge.

I wrote a recent blog post about this exact problem. Google search results have become increasingly fragmented in an attempt to try to give some hint to where the actual result is. For example a search on Ariana Grande will return a list of sites, some knowledge graph info (from Wikipedia), some news and YouTube links, and now some Twitter links. I put this down to a limitation of algorithmic search and, at least to me, this behavior indicates that Google is not good at determining what the question is. http://newslines.org/blog/googles-black-hole/

I know there's no single number to quantify this, but I really wonder what the signal to noise ratio on Twitter is. Sure, if you follow good accounts there are some gems from time to time, but it seems the vast majority of tweets are just complete wastes of time and resources, spraying out at a ridiculous rate.

For this to add value to Google SERPs, they're going to have to dedicate some real time, energy, and resources to process all of those tweets, something I think I wish they'd spend on other stuff than identifying which tweets are about someone's cat or not.

Twitter has a very good signal to noise ratio for me so far, even with images, videos and promotion tweets (which are all detrimental to quality). Part of that success is the ease with which I can follow/unfollow people. It is often the second point of contact to people I met somewhere, e.g. conferences or other social gatherings. That said I have just uninstalled the mobile app, because I got an e-mail promoting private messaging (why?) and get the overall feeling, that I am no longer the target demographic for Twitter (tech savvy power users that tweet themselves vs. mostly consuming VIP followers?!) since Twitter does much to worsen my experience (aforementioned imgs, videos, muting, etc.).

The signal to noise ratio from people you've followed is generally good, but the same isn't true of search from what I've seen - plenty of spam tweets there. That's probably only going to get worse if more people are going to see them.

This could go quite wrong for Twitter. Twitter's current loyal and core userbase uses it to express a personal opinion, a random thought or an emotion, often peppered with slang words and abbreviations.

If people start targeting the tweets for Google Searches, the network might become a hotchpotch of tweets optimized with SEO terms, which would be quite irritating for most Twitter and Google Search users.

I think this is an interesting point. However, I don,t foresee a problem given that Twitter is already full of spam bots. This is naturally solved Twitter by people unfollowing obnoxious accounts.

This deal was already in place for years (until 2011). The importance/usage of Twitter relative to Google was even lower then, and yet we didn't see this happen on any sort of meaningful scale.

Ok, I didn't know that. But you would agree that the social networking scene has changed a lot since 2011. Facebook was so much more personal and fun back then. I was just brooding over the fact that the Jordan pilot was burnt alive by IS two days back and not a single post about the incident showed up on my feed (I've 400 friends on fb). And I used to be quite vocal about such things 2-3 years back, but even I've lost interest in posting anything emotional now. Social networks have just become tools for marketeers and a personalized newsletter for me, with the occasional comments and likes I would make on a friend's post.

Totally agree. A simple "X didn't happen before so it won't happen now" is missing the fact that the environment has massively changed with respect to usage and influence of Twitter and Google. As I said though, this change has been in _favor_ of Twitter if anything (which stands to reason, since Google was already a leviathan by then and Twitter was still quite young). So if anything one would expect the push to sacrifice Twitter's quality for SEO on Google to be less.

Twitter says that working to make some of its hashtag pages friendly to search engines has generated a huge increase in search-related visits http://searchengineland.com/twitter-seo-more-visitors-208160

So, as a user of Google search, can I expect crap to show up in my search results that I was managing to avoid by not using Twitter regularly?

The giants of the web continue to profit themselves at the cost of an open internet.

Fear not, the internet will route around this damage soon enough.

Firehose...more like a sewage pipe.

God I hope there will be a Chrome extension to block this mental diarrhea from reaching my search results page.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact