Twitter Bows New Google Partnership, Search Interface

Twitter has unveiled a partnership with Google, allowing U.S. users to see relevant tweets in Google search results within the Google app and on the mobile Web. A similar integration for desktop search results is coming soon, along with an international version.

For example, according to the Twitter post explaining the integration, users who search for Taylor Swift will see her most recent tweets included in Google search results, while a search for #MadMen will bring up relevant news and tweets about the series finale. Search results include tweets with images and video. Users can tap on a tweet in Google search results to be taken directly to Twitter.

Twitter announced it has also revamped the way it displays search results on its own platform, with a new, simpler format and more options for filtering tweets. Some users have already been seeing the new search interface, which was tested in limited form starting in April, but now it will begin rolling out to all Twitter users.

The new search function now allows users to filter tweets to highlight the most popular tweets or recent tweets, as well as results from specific accounts or tweets including photos, video, or breaking news, among other options. For example, if the user searches for a keyword, the top result might be a popular tweet mentioning the keyword, followed by recent tweets and tweets with photos. On the other hand the new search algorithm also takes into account user intent, according to Twitter, so sheer numbers (volume of retweets or favorites) don’t always win out.

The Google partnership should give Twitter a big boost in visibility, while the revamped search function on the Twitter platform should make it easier for users -- especially new users -- to navigate different types of content and content sources. These changes come close on the heels of a broader makeover, also intended to help new users engage with the service, including a home page that shows top trending content in different news categories and more tailored suggestions for who to follow on Twitter.

The moves follow reports that investors have been disappointed by Twitter’s rate of new user growth and indications that engagement may be leveling off among existing users. In its most recent results, Twitter announced its total number of monthly active users increased from 288 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 302 million in the first quarter of 2015, for a quarter-to-quarter gain of 5%.

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