From 2009 to 2011, Twitter had an agreement with Google, which would include tweets in a special feed of search results. That partnership expired on July 1, 2011. On Tuesday, Twitter agreed to a new partnership with Yandex, Russia's most popular search engine, which will similarly list new, relevant tweets within its search results.
We wanted to make sure that Twitter content can be where Twitter users are already going, said April Underwood, Twitter's director of business development. Discovery through search is so important.
Twitter's agreement with Yandex, which is similar to the microblogging's contract with Microsoft Bing, will give Yandex access to Twitter's firehose of all public tweets in-real-time.
The decision to partner with Yandex comes just weeks after Twitter blasted Google for its move to integrate Google+ into its search results. Google's update, which the company calls Search Plus Your World, blends public Google+ pages and updates into Google's regular search results.
Twitter argued that its real-time information is often more accurate and relevant than Google's results to begin with.
For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet, said Matt Graves, Twitter's spokesperson. Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we've seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results.
We're concerned that as a result of Google's changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone. We think that's bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.
Twitter could not fight the battle for better search by itself, which is why it sought out a different search powerhouse. While Google is the world search leader, Yandex represents about 64 percent of market share in Russia and is the fifth largest search engine in the world with about 3 billion searches. According to Web metrics company Alexa, Yandex serves about 2.8 percent of all global Internet users, while Bing reaches about 3.4 percent.
People share news, exchange opinions and discuss all sorts of matters in real-time all the time, said Anton Pavlov, Yandex's blog search manager. This kind of information will help us enhance our search results.
Twitter and Yandex both refused to provide any financial details of their agreement, or whether Twitter enginners would be sent to work for Yandex, or vice-versa. When Twitter agreed to its deal with Bing, Microsoft reportedly paid the social site about $30 million in the deal.
While Russian Web searchers will be delighted to see real-time tweets in their search results, what are the odds that U.S. users will eventually see tweets return to their Google searches?
Anything's possible, but there's not really an update to provide at this time, Underwood said.
According to Alexa, Google is the No. 1 ranked site in the world, while Yandex is listed at No. 23 behind eBay, MSN and LinkedIn.