SHAFAQNA – Twitter agrees to give Google access to its stream of data. Photo: Getty Images
ByYoree Koh And Rolfe WinklerUpdated Feb. 5, 2015 8:57 a.m. ET
The deal means the 140-character messages written by Twitter’s 284 million users could be featured faster and more prominently by the search engine. The hope is that greater placement in Google’s search results could drive more traffic to Twitter, which could one day sell advertising to these visitors when they come to the site, or more important, entice them to sign up for the service.
Bloomberg News earlier reported on the search arrangement, saying the Twitter content could show up in Google’s search results in near real-time in the first half of this year. Google currently displays tweets in its search results but it crawls the site for content.
ENLARGEThe deal means the 140-character messages written by Twitter’s 284 million users could be featured faster and more prominently by Google. Photo: Reuters
The arrangement essentially revives an agreement that the two companies first forged in 2009. That deal lapsed after two years, however, after it was clear that the data integration didn’t drive meaningful traffic to Twitter, deliver adequate revenue or inspire new users to join the service, according to people familiar with the matter.
The dissolution was also due to disagreements over how Twitter’s content would be displayed and how Google would use the data. Google meanwhile had launched Google Plus, a competing social-media service which could have benefited from having Twitter data integrated into it. Twitter sought to limit the integration to search results while Google wanted freedom to use it across any of its products, these people said.
It is unclear how the terms of the latest arrangement differ from the first one that ended in 2011.
Twitter has said in recent months that its aim is to build the world’s largest daily audience, a goal it hopes to achieve by serving those beyond its registered users. It has identified two additional audiences: those who visit but don’t sign up for Twitter, and those who view Twitter content on other media properties.
The deal with Google would help Twitter with the former by making it easier to get tweets in front of nonusers. Earlier this week, Twitter announced plans to sell ads outside of its own platform for the first time, inking deals with news-reading app Flipboard and Internet portal Yahoo Japan.
News of the deal comes a day before Twitter is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings. Analysts expect Twitter’s user growth to continue slowing, but revenue is projected to climb 87% to $453.1 million from a year earlier, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.