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Google attacks Twitter's search bias claim

Search Plus Your World a 'bad day for the net', says tweet biz

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Google has come out fighting after Twitter claimed that changes to its search engine nobble results to favour Google+, damaging the internet.

Mountain View has expressed "surprise" at Twitter's reaction, while reminding folks that if they really want a decent billing in Google's search, they need to do a deal with the ad broker.

In its response to Twitter, Google blamed the social networking site for not renewing an agreement in July last year that had given the search giant access to a special Twitter feed allowing Google to include real-time tweets in its results. The agreement had been signed in 2009.

Google had said at the time that information on Twitter that is publicly available to its crawlers would still be searchable and discoverable on its search service.

Proving the medium is the message, Google posted on its Google+ page in response to Twitter: "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."

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt denied the changes to Google search favoured Google+. He implied, however, that to get a better billing, Twitter and other social networks – including Facebook – need to provide Google with greater access to their data and indexes.

The push-back came after Twitter general counsel Alexander Macgillivray tweeted that, guess what, the introduction of Google's Search Plus Your World was "a bad day for the internet". The change means Google is incorporating posts from its social networking attempt, Google+, into its search.

Twitter elaborated in a statement here and here that: "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."

Google's Search Plus favours Google+ over Twitter, potentially skewing what people can find out, Twitter reckons. The micro-blogging site claims 100 million users send 250 million tweets every day "on virtually every topic" - and cutting that out of search results means people only get a partial view of what's happening in the world.

Google's decision to go solo stands in contrast to aspiring challenger Microsoft, which sucks in tweets to its Bing search service under an agreement between the two companies announced in September 2011. Terms of the deal were not revealed, although Twitter was reported to be asking for $30m to tap its real-time stream. Bing also sucks in "Likes" and profile searches from Facebook under a similar agreement with Mark Zuckerberg's company. ®

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