Facebook won't give Google its data... yet

Matt Bowman · October 22, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/b5f

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg hints a deal with Google that mirror's Bing partnership is possible.

 Microsoft on Wednesday announced it would incorporate data from Twitter and Facebook into its search results. Google shot back with a pair of similar announcements: it will incorporate Twitter data and has launched “Social Search” functionality in Google Labs to display results from users’ social graph at the bottom of search pages… but Google fell short of announcing a formal agreement with Facebook.

Social score: Bing 2 , Google 1.5.

But the game is still on. At the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco yesterday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg left the door open to a potential deal. Event host John Batelle noted that the deal with Microsoft, which owns 1.6% of Facebook, was non-exclusive, and asked whether there was potential for a Google deal in the future.

“We do have a partnership strategy,” Sandberg smiled. “We have an open platform and we want to work with lots of people across the Web.”

“That was not a no.” Batelle returned.

“Nor was it a yes, technically,” was Sandberg’s mild reply. The deal with Google is a matter of time and terms, it seems.

Facebook is now giving Bing access to its “everyone data,” that is, the data that its users opt to make 100% public.

Batelle also asked Sandberg about monetization plans for the Facebook Connect platform, which allows third party sites to integrate Facebook social data into its own pages, giving visitors information about how their connections use the site. Sandberg was also closed-lip on that one: “Right now our focus is to make Facebook Connect easier to use and working with partners to get really cool, really deep integrations… We’re not working on anything that puts monetization alongside that right now.”

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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