It’s understood that Google will pay a data licensing fee to access the service that users of rivals Bing and Yahoo already enjoy.
Google was previously cut-off from Twitter’s "firehose" when the agreement ended in 2011, which prompted the end of Google Realtime Search. This forced Google to crawl Twitter to index tweets and ultimately meant that only a fraction of the previous volume of tweets were indexed.
This is a very interesting, yet not entirely unexpected, development; Twitter was making noises back in November that it wanted to rekindle a relationship.
It makes sense for both sides. Even setting aside its desire for enhanced organic traffic, Twitter’s own search functionality is poor and the likelihood of a user turning to Bing to find old tweets was low. It also seems that Google has accepted that it will never match Twitter or Facebook in terms of the significance of the active user base on Google+.
The result could be a major change for the organic search results – there are still complications to iron out in terms of social signals gaining the weight they deserve as a ranking factor for Google, but the new deal means that giant strides have been made to solve some existing issues such as the overall lack of accessibility to social data, the relatively low volume of tweets that could be indexed, and the potentially long lead time on the indexing of tweets.
*update 06/02/2015: After the partnership became official, Marketing Land’s founder Danny Sullivan, answers some FAQ’s in his latest post.
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