Following more than two years of hiatus, Twitter and Google have renewed their relationship with one another as Google will again include real-time tweets in search results as they are posted.
Citing people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reports that tweets will start appearing in the search results sometime in the first half of the year after Twitter has reached a new agreement with Google to give it access to the Twitter firehose, or the stream of content generated in real-time by Twitter's more than 284 million users.
Previously, Google had to unleash its army of bots to crawl Twitter's website for information, a process that takes up time and resources and could potentially crash Twitter's servers if Google's bots were to crawl every bit of its website. With Google gaining access to the firehose, it will be far easier for the search engine to bring up real-time content by Twitter's users.
The deal is not the first of its kind for both companies. Back in 2009, Twitter struck a similar deal with Google allowing the search engine full access to the firehose. At the time, the partnership appeared to have become so valuable for Google that it even introduced a new service called Google Real-Time Search, which was centered largely on Twitter.
Although updates from other social networks were included, content posted by Twitter users was the star of the show, and Twitter benefitted greatly from the Google links leading to its website and the content that was featured on the regular search engines. Following the real-time search service, Google began carrying paid ads from Twitter, a rare move considering it has its own advertising network.
However, Twitter refused to renew the deal in 2011 because Ali Rowghani, then chief operating officer at Twitter, reportedly wanted to regain more control of Twitter's content and the way Twitter users search for content. It was an unusual move for Twitter, as seen from behind the lens of Google, since the microblogging network had entered a similar deal with Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo.
The broken deal brought up a few issues for Twitter. One, some users, mostly journalists, complained that they could no longer search for old tweets as easily as before. Twitter last year addressed this issue by offering a new service that allows real-time search.
The second is a more pressing problem for Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who is struggling to appease investors by generating more ad revenue and appealing to a larger audience. Twitter had suffered a loss of visibility in the search engines, and the company seems to not be taking any of that any longer. With the renewed Google partnership, Costolo could be hoping to reach out to a wider audience composed of non-Twitter users.
However, Bloomberg reports there is no advertising revenue involved in the deal. Instead, Google will be paying Twitter "data-licensing" revenue, likely in the form of a flat fee, to gain access to Twitter's content.
The report comes as Twitter is expected to reveal its latest quarterly earnings report on Friday.