Photo: JOE MARINARO
Yesterday, Google announced a new, optional feature.Users who turn the feature on will now see personalised search results that link to content from social networks.
Google called it “Search plus Your World.”
After the launch, Twitter complained, saying that Search plus Your World did not include content from Twitter.
We are a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer (http://goo.gl/chKwi), and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions.
Translated into normal person English, Google is saying, “Hey Twitter, the only reason we didn’t include your content in Search plus Your World is because you asked us not to.”
Here’s what we think is going on: Google used to pay Twitter for “firehose” access to all the content on Twitter. It sounds like this summer, Google told Twitter that it would no longer like to pay for that access. Twitter – it seems – said OK, you can’t have access to that content anymore.
So who’s right and who’s wrong?
From Twitter’s perspective, you could argue that Google is trying to shake it down, telling Twitter: Give us your content for free or we’ll point all our users at Google+ instead of Twitter!
From Google’s perspective, you could argue that Twitter is trying to charge Google for access to content and complaining when Google said no thanks and made do without. If getting into “Search plus Your World” is so important to Twitter, maybe it shouldn’t charge Google for getting access to Twitter.