Yahoo! and Twitter have recently announced a partnership. (See Yahoo’s announcement here) and Twitter’s announcement here.) Twitter notes that Yahoo will be getting the “firehose” — the full feed of public tweets. Since Twitter users post 600 Tweets per second that’s a huge amount of data. And judging from the Twitter growth curve, I think that number’s going to go up.
Anyway, the immediate result of this partnership will be that real-time Twitter updates will be integrated across various Yahoo properties, as well as search. As a matter of fact, you can see that now; if you do a search with Yahoo you’ll see that there’s a new tab for results from Twitter. You can see in the screenshot that videos have been pulled via Twitter as well. I do not think these results update in real-time like Google’s do; I left the page open for several minutes and never changed. I know the search term Toyota is (at least for the moment) generating more traffic than that.
There are some other plans for a Yahoo/Twitter future as well. People will be able to access their own Twitter feeds across Yahoo’s properties, and they will be able to integrate content from Yahoo properties more easily into their Twitter streams. Yahoo describes this integration as taking place “later this year.”
On the one hand, I can easily see this as a necessary part of Yahoo’s future, even though this integration is coming a bit behind Twitter/Bing and Twitter/Google. It seems like Yahoo has fairly aggressive plans for integrating Twitter content, and 50 million tweets a day is a lot. But. But but but. What is Yahoo going to do to make these 50 million tweets a day more meaningful to its users?
There are already lots and lots and lots of Twitter tools out there. Some of them are unique and offer a lot of value, a different way of looking at this huge stream of content. I don’t think just having that content and integrating it into search is going to end up being meaningful to Yahoo. How is the company going to shape it, how is it going to be filtered? What kind of processing-to-increase-value is Yahoo going to do?
Simply integrating a tweet stream into search isn’t enough. Especially for Yahoo, it isn’t enough. I have faith that Yahoo can do more (Yahoo Pipes is still awesome, Flickr is consistently fantastic) but I want to see it.