Google+’s takeover of Google search invites Twitter’s rage

11 Jan 2012

I have to admit I thought it would be Facebook that would be all sound and fury at Google’s blitzkrieg tactics that have seen it fuse its social network Google+ inextricably to search. But no, Twitter can barely contain its contempt at the ballsy move.

Yesterday we reported that Google decided to make search more sociable by filtering everything Google+ related into your searches – who you connect with, who you could connect with, etc.

I thought Facebook would be angry but Twitter has had the balls to speak out.

Twitter’s legal counsel Alex Macgillivray has described the move as a “bad day for the internet” and one bound to spark “dissension.”


In a more formal statement, Twitter said: “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 100m users sending 250m 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 organisations and Twitter users.”

What will happen next?

I wouldn’t be too surprised if this move by Google sparks an anti-trust case. In effect, Google is using something it created but is nonetheless integral to the functioning of the global internet – its search page – to give its own social network an advantage over the competition.

Only by opening this capability up to Twitter and Facebook and other social networks can Google put this right.

But I can’t see it doing that … at least not in a hurry.

Google has responded hurt and surprised to Twitter’s anger, as if to say ‘what?’

It said Twitter chose not to renew its relationship with Google. In his blog on the matter, Google search authority Matt Cutts wrote that Google won’t block external social networks from searches on Google. He wrote: “Search plus Your World does surface public content from the open web, not just content from Google+.”


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years