Twitter’s Deal With Search Engines? I Called That.

News broke yesterday that Twitter is talking to major search engines (Google and Microsoft) about licensing Twitter’s full firehose API. Over the past few months I’ve been seeing signs leading to exactly this kind of thing; here’s why Google will jump on this data.

When Twitter announced their intentions to completely re-engineer how ReTweets work, I took a strong stance against the move, mostly because it means that 3rd party researchers will no longer be able to index and analyze ReTweets in the same way we can today.

I speculated about the reason behind the move:

By taking out the “RT @username,” Twitter is making it impossible for users to search for retweets themselves, says Zarrella. “They’re limiting how much you can analyze retweets.” Zarrella speculates as to whether the retweet button might have been created so that, down the road, Twitter can charge for different features, such as extensive tracking of retweets.

And more specifically, in a tweet, I noted an interesting relationship between Project ReTweet’s lead, Zhanna and Google (her LinkedIn profile says she works for both Google and Twitter):

Does @zhanna work for Twitter or Google?

And over the summer at SES Toronto, I gave a presentation, which I’ll be giving again at PubCon Vegas, that detailed the reason and the way Google should be using the Twitter stream to aid in real time search:

This move was coming. Twitter knows they have a valuable data resource on their hands and they’re starting to reel in the 3rd party developers and researchers who’ve been using it for free. I’m just glad I’ve got my 60 million plus ReTweets already indexed.

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