The tech blogosphere is a buzz (or a-twitter depending on how you consume news) about reports that Twitter is in talks with Microsoft and Google to integrate Tweets into their search results.
As the search and tech giants try to hammer out deals and determine how to compensate Twitter for the content, I'd like to tell you why you should care, and point out that I've been banging this drum for months: this is exactly what Twitter is meant for. As Twitter grows in popularity search engines would be remiss to omit the comments news organizations, companies, and yes, ordinary people, broadcast around the web. The latest numbers put Twitter's monthly users at some 55 million.
Even if you're one of the millions who think Twitter is annoying - or just doesn't get it - and wants nothing to do with it, Twitter search will be helpful. You won't have to broadcast your stock picks or share what you ate for lunch, but you may want to cull from the service that's become a feed for news organizations and companies to share headlines or communicate with customers. And while websites can be out-dated, Twitter is all about up-to-the-second results.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt raved to me about his appreciation for Twitter at the Allen & Co. conference back in July, saying that it'll be key to incorporate real-time results in Google. Last week in a visit to CNBC headquarters, Google's Marissa Mayer also referred to the value of these kind of up-to-date search queries. So I'd say, it's about time!
So what can we expect? Twitter's co-founders tell me the company's determined to stay independent for now, so that means neither Google nor Microsoft will snag an exclusive deal. Such an alliance would send a pretty dramatic message about where the company was going, a message Twitter isn't interested in sending. Because so many websites - from the New York Times to Yahoo- use either Google or Microsoft search, Twitter deals with just these two companies could yield Twitter results throughout the web. Twitter would get paid for supplying these results, and there's another business stream for the startup that's focused on building a business rather than generating revenue and still has managed to earn a $1 billion valuation based on its last round of fundraising.
Yes, you can already search the microblogging service - search.Twitter.com pulls up all references to your search term in real-time. I would guess that bringing its results to Google would involve an element of curation, the same kind of filters that Google uses when trying to figure out what results will be most relevant to you. And if Twitter is brought into the most popular websites in the world, that would surely grow its usage, which in turn could grow the online conversation and the power of its results.
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