Come On Twitter, Put On Your Big Boy Underwear.
Apparently, a previous agreement boosting Twitter results with real-time search has left a bad taste in Twitter's mouth after they failed to renew the agreement. And they are letting everyone know just how unhappy they are...
Apparently, a previous agreement boosting Twitter results with real-time search has left a bad taste in Twitter's mouth after they failed to renew the agreement. And they are letting everyone know just how unhappy they are by pissing and moaning about Google's recent search result changes.
The latest comes from Alex Macgillivray, General Counsel for Twitter, whose wildly misguided example uses search results for "@WWE." The example was used to show that Google places it's own products, in this case Google+, before search results for other websites including Twitter. Twitter openly criticized Google on Tuesday stating, "As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter...We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone."
Some great questions have come out of this recent attack on Google and it's new 'Search plus Your World.' The most common is, 'Shouldn’t people find what they are searching for at the top of their results?' The answer is simply no. The issue here is not what they are searching for but how they are searching for it.
First and foremost, Google may be a search engine providing relevant information on the terms a user is searching for, but they are a business. It doesn't get any more complicated than that. How can Twitter expect Google to place Twitter results before the results of it's own products unless they are willing to cough up the bucks for premium placement. Second, Google has made wonderful changes over the years which help to guide people to the results they are looking for, however, human error and ignorance tend to be the main reason some people never find relevant results.
To break this down simply, and explain why his example is misguided, searching for @WWE would mean that the user knows the Twitter handle for the WWE. So, what exactly are they searching for on Google? Are they searching for newsworthy content from the WWE or what people are saying about them? If that's the case, then the issue is not Google. Twitter is not pushing it's own search function located on its website which would provide that very information. In most cases, or at least in my personal experience, people turn to Google when they don't know the Twitter handle of a specific user. Searching for @EllenDegeneres would lead you to a suspended account. However, searching for "Ellen Degeneres Twitter" would put Twitter in the number one spot, followed by fan profiles and Ellen's website - all above anything from Google+.
It's not what is being searched, it's how people are searching for it. We all have different ways for searching for information relevant to our needs, so is that something Google should anticipate or should the responsibility lay on Twitter? The issue is that Twitter is not happy with their SEO and rather than finding and fixing issues within their own company they find it easier to point the finger at someone else. It's ok, this is standard management protocol and human nature.
Instead of releasing statements attacking Google's business practices, Twitter should turn their sights on their own mismanagement. Over the past few years the infamous fail whale has become a meme mocked in ever corner of the Internet. Twitter may consider boasting its own search features and even enhance user friendliness. And, if they are truly interested in landing in the first spot of search results they should pony up the dough.
Is Google really to blame or should Twitter be pushing their own search functions to locate user profiles? After all, if you know the @ name for a user, you aren't searching for them on Google.