Greater Twitter Presence in Google

The writing has been on the wall pretty much all year. Google is going to start utilising Twitter more in search results. We’ve yet to see the extent of what that means exactly, but it looks like expanded use of tweets in Google is nigh.

Google appears to be testing a new integration of Twitter results on the desktop in the UK. Conductor spotted it, tipping Search Engine Land to it. Here’s what it looks like.

Google officially launched a similar feature a few months ago on mobile after securing a new deal with Twitter for access to the full firehose of tweets.

The integration takes the form of a carousel that appears in search results, which lets you swipe sideways to see various tweets. It only appears on some searches, and it’s unclear how and when exactly Google decides to show them. The examples we’ve seen have been for Twitter profile searches, celebrity searches, and newsy/trendy topic searches.

As I wrote at the time, “The placement of the tweets in search results varies. I assume it’s based on now relevant Google feels those tweets are to a particular search. If the search is related to an event, perhaps Google will be more likely to show them toward the top while it’s actually happening. I’m only speculating.”

“Google isn’t saying much of anything about how it determines what tweets to show or how it shows them. It’s refusing to answer questions about this, and the blog posts from both Twitter and Google on the integration are pretty short and vague. It’s easy to understand why this would be the case. They don’t want people to game the system and abuse the feature.”

Around the time the mobile integration was launched, we we spoke with Stone Temple Consulting’s Eric Enge, who had conducted a study about how how Google used tweets prior to the launch, about how Google might use the tweets now that it has the firehose. He said he believed Google would be doing a lot of experimenting and potentially evolving its use of the tweets.

It was always only a matter of time before Google started utilising the deal more on the desktop, and there’s still no telling when it will become widely available, but there’s no surprise that they’re experimenting with it.

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan reports, “A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company has been experimenting with displaying Twitter in desktop search results since mid-July: ‘We don’t have more to announce for now.’”

Let’s be honest. This or some variation on it will almost certainly roll out on the desktop widely, and when it does, it’s going to greatly expand the amount of searches that surface tweets.

But like Enge said, it’s likely that there will be further experimentation, and that could mean that Google shows tweets in more types of instances, and and continues to tweak how it determines which tweets to show.

Your best bet either way, should it every directly effect you (and who knows at this point if it will?) is to maintain a healthy, engaging Twitter presence, and keep your tweeting at a level that you feel comfortable with in representing your professional brand.