The conventional thinking now is that Twitter’s search will spell trouble for Google. I believe that it will be Google that will be the first to filter tweets and deliver useful, relevant results sets. This seems so obvious yet I have not seen anyone write about it yet. Maybe the Twitterati is high on their own supply.
Why is Twitter different than any other pub? Its technology is not core search but personal messaging and content. It is Google that spells trouble for Twitter as the value of the content generated via Twitter will be sucked into Google just as any other publisher. Of course, GOOG will then monetize that content in a way Twitter will not be able to do either — same as every other publisher relying on ad supported models.
This is happening already. In the past week or so Google has starting to index tweets in its natural results set. There is little doubt this will continue to gain velocity and that there is a team at Google working on tweaking algos for RTS and Twitter content. There is enough data in Twitter to do whatever Google needs to do with it to incorporate tweets as relevant search results.
Google will do a great job of filtering the noise out of Twitter, determining authority and providing useful RTS. This is their core competency! Also, let’s face it, real-time search is not really real-time. There is a latency to Twitter, a latency to Tweetdeck a latency to Google. And the ultimate value as anyone who has done a twitter search can attest is not in the recency, the value is in relevance. But make no mistake about it, Google will have no problem indexing and ranking tweets within seconds.
I also believe as soon as people see Twitter results in the Google SERP there will be little reason to go to Twitter to search. Most users are on third party interfaces anyway and Google is omnipresent in most toolbars. Don’t underestimate the Google habit for search.
I previously assessed the value of Twitter and Real-Time Search (RTS) from a user perspective. From a technical perspective as with all other search results there needs to be authority, filters and results sets. I believe Google can already do this better than Twitter. Competing with Google in search is not where Twitter should be headed unless they are prepared for the nuclear option, robots.txt Twitter.