Dear Google, Isn’t It Too Early To End The Search Deal With Twitter?


Google has stopped showing the real-time search page along with normal search results. This was nothing but a search deal with Twitter which allowed Google to include Twitter’s search index results and show them in real-time on Google’s search results.

Twitter Google real time search

Google struck a deal with Twitter earlier in 2009 to provide users a better search experience. Adding real-time tweets provided Google to provide its users with the latest news for a specific keyword being search for. I personally had a few instances where the real-time search results helped giving me the latest information I was searching for and despite not being anything spectacular, I thought the Realtime Search feature was useful.

Many analysts have been saying that the Google-Twitter deal was more an attempt to avoid losing the exclusivity to Bing (Bing had struck a deal with Twitter as well) but I still felt that it also allowed to improve the overall search experience.

Apparently, Google has chosen not to renew its deal with Twitter. Call it co-incidence or bad timing, but if the decision to not renew the deal has been taken based on the launch of Google’s own social network – Google Plus, I think Google could be acting (if-I-may ) cocky.

Yes, the first impressions of Google Plus have been great and I have no doubt that Google Plus can rival Twitter when it comes to content creation and consumption. However, it might have been to early to discount the real-time advantage that Twitter and only Twitter can offer at the moment.

Nothing Beats Twitter When It Comes To Real-Time

One of the features people seemed to have liked in Google Plus vis-a-vis Twitter is the non-restriction in terms of word limit. Sure, freedom of word limit and threaded conversations make for much more effective discussions. However, when it comes to real time update  do I really need “all these” features.

Brevity works best in this case and Twitter facilitates the same seamlessly. Not to say that Google Plus may not provide the same but the USP of the network is selective sharing and the likes. It is more a collaborative then a broadcasting platform. Twitter is ubiquitous and the 140 word limit often works best when it comes to updating real-time events.

It might be early days for Google Plus and may be it can become everything that Twitter stands for today. However, for it to rival Twitter for real-time news/event update it will take a while for the ecosystem around Google Plus to evolve and mass adoption is also going to take time.

With the cash flows that Google has, renewing the deal with Twitter wouldn’t have really hurt. Even though Google has suggested bringing back real-time results in the near future with Google Plus and other third-party networks, I wonder if it will be truly real-time without Twitter.

What are your thoughts on Google discontinuing its search deal with Twitter? Is the decision driven by the launch of Google Plus as Google plans to mark its dominance in the social space?

  1. Brent W. Hopkins says

    Google made a strategic mistake by abandoning the search deal with Twitter. I now spend more time on Twitter, and less on Google as a consequence. Google also made a strategic mistake with Google Plus, in its disastrous “real names” policy fiasco. Google understands technology, but it doesn’t “get” people. It is always a bad move to throw your early adopters under the bus, even if it seems to make sense for a business case. Google owes its phenomenal growth to the goodwill of the early-adopter, geek community. Goodwill now squandered in a manner reminiscent of Microsoft. Bye-bye, Google, you were fun until your success-bloated ego turned you into a jerk.

  2. Sriram Vadlamani says

    For Google, the biggest loss isn’t necessarily the real-time search deal. Right now it is battling a cartel for the Nortel patents. For $4.5 bn, Google would have landed 6000 patents to make its case for Android. From a $4.5 bn mistake perspective, pulling the deal off with Twitter doesn’t look like a big thing.

    Google got some issues right now. It got good engineers, now it needs some good lawyers and strategic thinkers.

    If Google Plus is a +1, Twitter deal and Nortel patents is -2.

    1. Ankit Agarwal says

      Complete i agree. I personally think that Google should have gone after Nortel even if they had to up the pricing beyond expectations. Nortel has a gold mine of patents around enterprise mobility and as you rightly said, Google could have eventually found a way to monetize those multiple times over. But as they M&A is seldom as black-and-white as it looks :P

      However, twitter deal was loose change in terms of dollar cost but IMO there was inherent value. Betting real-time on Google Plus might seem like a good future looking idea but too cocky at this stage. Google though has silently picked up Postrank which could facilitate social search and should Google+ become mainstream, then it might be able to provide a real time social search experience. Only time will tell though

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