The biggest loser in the Twitter search deals

No, it’s not FriendFeed, although yesterday didn’t provide any good news to users there who really would love to hear that their community still matters. Google and Microsoft said “no.”

So, who is the biggest loser in the Twitter search deals announced yesterday (First Bing announced it made a deal with Twitter. Then Google jumped in and said “me too.”)


“But didn’t Facebook make a deal with Bing too yesterday?”


But tell me again what market share that Bing has? Somewhere less than 10%. Even if they double that over the next year (hint: they won’t) that means 20%. Now, what’s Google’s market share? Somewhere around 70%, right? So, even if it loses 10% to Bing that still is 60%.

In other words, if you aren’t on Google you don’t exist to most people.

Who doesn’t exist on Google (at least in terms of deals for the firehose feed?)

1. FriendFeed (which is owned by Facebook).
2. Facebook.

Why did this happen?

Well, remember, Microsoft has an advertising deal with Facebook. I bet there’s some funny language in a contract somewhere that is keeping Facebook from making search deals with Google.


So, why does all this search stuff matter for tweets and Facebook status messages?

Well, I keep looking at searches for businesses. Things like if you are looking on Google for “Sushi in Palo Alto, CA.”

See that list? What do you notice about it?

I notice a few things.

1. It feels cold when compared to, say, my Facebook feed. Why is that? No friends!
2. There’s no real time news. Did a great shipment of salmon ship in yesterday? How would I know from this list?
3. There are no offers from restaurant #3. This is where the money is and Google is leaving a TON of it on the table here but Yelp is actually showing the way here — open up Yelp’s iPhone app and you’ll see offers to try to get you into the restaurant.

So, how can Twitter help?

Well, if certain Tweets could be routed to this page, especially ones from my friends who will tell me that, say, Fuki-Sushi has the best fresh fish, well, then, that would be very cool and useful. Even further, what if both restaurants and customers could talk about Fuki-Sushi in real time? When I was in Paris last year we were in a restaurant where rats were crawling on the floor. Wouldn’t you like to know that about a restaurant before you took your date there? Isn’t real time very important? I think so. I want to know what the experience is there now, not last night. My favorite sushi restaurant always has a line. Wouldn’t it be fun to see a Tweet from someone who is there telling you that the line at your favorite place is short right now?

And, couldn’t Twitter be used as infrastructure to deliver offers from the restaurants themselves? Oh, yeah!

But all that isn’t the real reason why Facebook is the big loser.

Facebook has another problem. People think it’s a service for talking to your college friends. Or your close “real world” friends and family. I watch my wife and that’s how she uses it. She doesn’t understand that Facebook needs to move her into their public world so that they can turn on search and enable other cool experiences that will go outside of her little walled garden.

It will be professional publishers that drag people to new use cases. Already people are starting to change their behaviors on Facebook because of celebrity fan pages, which are public.

But where will influential people, celebrities, brands, professional publishers, etc choose to publish? Where their words have a shot at getting at the biggest audiences.

Today that audience is on Google. Google is the prize. Repeat that 50 times.

Twitter, so far, has made a deal with Google. Facebook, so far, has NOT made a deal with Google.

Until Facebook can get around the terms in that advertising deal it signed with Microsoft it is the biggest loser of the day yesterday.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

58 thoughts on “The biggest loser in the Twitter search deals

  1. Once again, you show how much of a blithering nincompoop you can be.

    There is exactly *one* reason I maintain *any* sort of presence on Facebook: To connect with old friends. Y'know, just like your wife does.

    I do not wish to be moved into Facebook's “Public World”. I do not wish to have anything to do with their “Cool Experiences”. Forcing such bullshit upon their userbase will make me (and countless others like me) reconsider whether or not it's worth it.

    Yes, Google may be the “prize” for businesses. What you apparently & consistently fail to realize is that “Social Media” is about PEOPLE and PEOPLE connecting. NOT business. When I'm on FB, I am there for people, not “celebrities” or businesses.

    Sounds more to me like Facebook may be (inadvertently) recognizing what the REAL value of their site is: People.

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