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Twitter vs Google


Earlier this week, Google changed the rules of the online game a bit by merging its powerful search engine with its nascent social network, Google Plus. Per Google’s announcement:

We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. We began this transformation with Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features:

  1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page; 
  2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,
  3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.

This, of course, angered Twitter, who sent a response to TechCrunch’s MGSiegler:

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 100 million users sending 250 million 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 organizations and Twitter users.

And just in case you were wondering if Google felt hurt by this response, well, they responded to the response:

We are a bit surprised by Twitter’s comments about Search plus Your World, because they chose not to renew their agreement with us last summer (http://goo.gl/chKwi), and since then we have observed their rel=nofollow instructions.

After all this tit for tat for tit going on in the online world (we’re all still waiting for Facebook to enter the fray) got me thinking: If there were a global thermonuclear war between Google (and all its services) and Twitter, and only one survived, which would you rather see? In other words, if you had to choose one to give up, which would you choose? I posted this question on Tumblr and Twitter last night, and here are the results:

On Twitter: 7 would give up Google; 6 would give up Twitter; 1 said it was a false choice; 1 said it was a stupid question.

On Tumblr: 1 would give up Google; 13 would give up Twitter; 1 said MySpace.

In total, 8 of 30 (27%) give up the search giant, 19 of 30 (63%) give up the ubiquitous social platform, 3 of 30 (10%) didn’t care to play in my reindeer games. Here are some of the responses:

I would give up Google. Without blinking. I can always ask someone on Twitter to look something up for me. It’s like asking if I’d rather talk to someone on the phone or deal with an (granted, very sophisticated) automated message menu.

I’d give up Twitter, if only for Gmail and Gcal. They pretty much run my life.

Twitter. In a heartbeat. Google has too many different, valuable services. Twitter is just 140 characters and maybe a link.

Google; I’m sure I could find another search engine, if need be. There’s nothing that replicates Twitter for me.

Google, because whereas not as good, there are other search engines and not really another twitter.

Twitter. In a New York minute.

I could ask Twitter all the things I’d ask Google, and probably come up with just as good if not better answers!

So what say you? Which would you give up?

About joshsternberg

Josh Sternberg is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY, covering digital media and publishing for Digiday. Other articles have been published in The Atlantic, The Awl, Current, The Huffington Post, Mashable & Mediaite.

Discussion

One thought on “Twitter vs Google

  1. There is no doubt that Twitter is now making an enormous impact on the political and social world. However, if Twitter did not exist, people wanting to spread new and views quickly would still have many other channels. On the other hand, we need Google to ensure that we can search and find any news, views and any other information published in any online format. Yes, there are other search engines but yes also there are many alternative ways to get your message out without Twitter.

    Posted by Leo Isaac | January 20, 2012, 3:27 am

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