SPRINGBOX / Insights

A new Google feature takes flight

by Springbox, May 26, 2015

Rumors that tweets would be returned in Google search results have been circulating all year. (So have a lot of other rumors, but those are for another story.) But on May 19, Google really did begin serving up Twitter results in mobile searches. It’s only mobile for now, but eventually, the search engine will return them on searches from a desktop, too.

Another bird in the flock?

Google rolls out updates all the time. (We’re looking at you Hummingbird and Penguin.) So why is this one news? After all, it’s not the first time a search engine has pulled in social media content. (Ahem…Bing circa 2011.)

It’s a big deal — and here’s why.

Google is the most popular engine out there, occupying about 69% of the proverbial search pie. Which is to say that the 1.2 trillion Google searches happening annually take up a pretty large of all searches — worldwide. They’ve also just reported that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches for the first time ever.

Get active on Twitter.

With these numbers in mind, this update becomes incredibly significant for brands that are active on Twitter. When the feature is fully rolled out, tweets have the potential to reach trillions of people (yes, we said trillions). That won’t happen for some time. The update is only currently being displayed in mobile search results for people living in the United States. But it’s best for brand to reassess their Twitter game now.

So, how does it work?

A sliding carousel returns the most recent three or four tweets from the Twitter handle, hashtag or topic you’re searching. And tapping on the tweet takes you to Twitter.

For now, it looks like Google’s testing is only bringing though tweets from verified accounts when the user enters a search query including a hashtag (with a # symbol) or the word ‘Twitter’ as a descriptor. But as the features evolve, we hope to soon see searchers flocking to Twitter.