The war of words between Google and Twitter escalated Wednesday, as Google responded to Twitter’s accusation that plans to further integrate Google+ into its regular search results is “bad for people.”
“We are a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer,” read a post on Google’s Google+ page on Wednesday, which Google confirmed to Mashable was its official statement on the matter. “Since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions.”
Rel=nofollow is code that prevents search engines from following links.
Google’s agreement with Twitter gave the search engine access to public tweets. The agreement expired in July and was not renewed. Now Google is implying it was Twitter that chose not to renew the deal.
Twitter had criticized Google’s new social search feature, which it calls Search plus Your World, on Tuesday. “As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter,” its statement said. “We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone.”
But if Twitter had made it difficult for Google to include Tweets in its results, which is what Google seems to be implying, it would be just as much to blame as the search engine for making its breaking news hard to find.
Reporter Danny Sullivan cornered Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt at CES on Wednesday and asked him about Google’s relationship with Twitter.
Sullivan told Schmidt he thought one feature of Search plus Your World, which recommends relevant people to follow on Google+ but not other networks, is “the equivalent of saying ‘hey, you can only find information about finance on Google finance. You cannot find information about finance anywhere else.’”
“Let me remind you that to do the ‘everywhere else’ with Google finance — we had permission,” responded Schmidt.
When Sullivan said he thought Google had enough permission to include links from networks like Twitter in its search results, Schmidt said: “That’s your opinion. If you could arrange a letter from Facebook and Twitter to us, that would be helpful.”
Highlights from the Marketing Land interview are posted in the YouTube video below. We’ve reached out to Twitter spokespeople for comment and will update this article when we hear from them.
Do you think that Twitter was right to complain when Google integrated Google+ more closely with its search engine? Does it matter whether they refused Google access to public tweets in the first place? Let us know in the comments.