Twitter is seriously unhappy with Google’s search changes

Twitter clearly views Google’s new social search features, which highlights postings by the searcher’s Google+ friend connections, as a direct threat to its bread and butter – – serving as the default place on the Web where people go to learn about breaking news, whether it comes from an individual or a news organization.

Tuesday, within hours after Google announced its new “Search – Plus your World” service, Twitter complained in a written statement released to the media that:

For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet.

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.

Within hours, Google (speaking in the Royal “we”) fired back in a post on its Google+ page that Twitter had only itself to blame for allowing the agreement  between the two companies, under which Google was able to crawl and index Twitter’s stream, to lapse:
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 (, and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions.
Now, on Wednesday, Twitter is back with a another broadside against Google, this time in a Tweet from general counsel Alex Macgillivray, a former Googler. There is little doubt a post from Twitter’s top lawyer, once a member of Google’s own legal staff, was meant to be a serious legal shot across the bow. Could a phone call to the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating whether Google is abusing its search dominance to bolster its own products, be far behind?
Search example from Twitter general counsel, Alex Macgillivray

Search example from Twitter general counsel, Alex Macgillivray

Macgillivary’s Tweet linked to an example of a Google search. He is saying, essentially, is that a person searching  Google for “@wwe”, the Twitter account of the professional wrestling organization, will instead now be steered to Google+ content.  The Twitter account result was there, but it was well down the page.

It will be interesting to see watch whether Twitter takes things to the next level and files a formal complaint with the FTC. Twitter spokesman Matt Graves declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.


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