Twitter Signs Firehose Deal With Google
The rumored return of indexed tweets to Google’s search results was confirmed on Thursday, Feb. 5 by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo during the company’s Q4 earnings report.
Earth’s most powerful search algorithm will begin to incorporate access to Twitter’s impressive Firehose data stream at some point in the first half of 2015. This means that rather than have Google’s spiders crawl through each of Twitter’s 500 million individual tweets per day, user updates will become indexed the moment they go live.
Similar deals are already in place with Google competitors Yahoo! and Bing, and it isn’t even the first of it’s kind at Google either, though that relationship with Twitter was not renewed until now. Costolo says users should expect to notice tweets in results at some point in the first half of 2015.
The coupling of the announcement with the fourth quarter earnings reports was part of a preemptive response to investor concerns regarding slowed user growth despite posted revenue.
While Twitter’s $479 million in revenue for the fourth quarter exceeded expectations by an impressive $25 million, new user enrollment and monthly user engagement was down year-over-year. Twitter’s core user base is still growing it seems, just not as fast as predicted.
“I think there’s one big specific difference about the previous relationship we had with Google … and that’s because we are now really pursuing this total audience strategy … that more than half a billion people who come to Twitter as logged-out users,” Costolo explained in an interview with CNBC.
Instead of focusing on the “logged in” user experience – that is, registered Twitter users – Costolo has decided to shift to facilitate “logged-out user base” accessibility. This might sound counterintuitive at first but makes more sense when the “logged out user base” is understood as “everyone who might see an update on any platform”, a metric by which Twitter far and away beats all other social networks.
This new total audience strategy also includes revamping the Twitter landing page to include an aggregate feed of Twitter’s most popular users and breaking updates as well as new opportunities for third-party clients to engage non-registered twitter users. For example, ZipDial, a recent Twitter acquisition in India, will allow non-smart phone owners to receive text updates from Twitter accounts dedicated to the upcoming Cricket World Cup. Ostensibly this will include promoted tweets as well.
This new arena of access to Twitter’s data is new but growing quickly, something Costolo stresses. Data licensing revenue was $47 million in the fourth quarter, up $6 million from Q3 and a whopping 105% from the year before.
Most logged-in Twitter users are already aware of how impressive and essential Twitter’s search functions can be for real-time updates. These results however, are culled from roughly 1% to 40% of tweets on a given subject depending on the popularity. What Twitter CEO Costolo asks of his investors is this: imagine what the right people could do with unfiltered access to 100% of the over 500 million daily real-time updates around the world. Imagine all the dollar signs on those eyeballs.
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