And then there were three Twitter search customers.
Yahoo has agreed to purchase access to the Twitter firehose, adding real-time Twitter content to both search results and Yahoo profiles. The company has been featuring Twitter content in search results for some time but plans to augment those results now that it will receive content directly from Twitter rather than having to pull it from the service through public APIs, said Jim Stoneham, vice president of communities at Yahoo.
Google and Microsoft announced similar plans months ago at the Web 2.0 conference. Yahoo will continue to integrate Twitter content into the box it places above trendy search terms such as "Obama" or "Olympics," but with the deal, Yahoo will be able to integrate much more content, Stoneham said.
Yahoo users will also be able to view their Twitter feeds and post to the service directly from the Yahoo accounts, similar to the plans Yahoo announced to let Facebook users update their profiles from their Yahoo accounts. The search results should start appearing Wednesday, but it will take longer for Yahoo and Twitter to integrate their data in order to integrate the streams from the two sites.
The battle is on to see if search engines can analyze, rank, and display real-time data from services like Twitter in a relevant way. It's early days so far, but this could be the next battleground in the search market now that everyone is trying to augment search results with structured data.
For Yahoo, it's also an attempt to blunt the amount of time users spend on competing sites like Facebook by giving those users a way to integrate their social-networking lives into their Yahoo e-mail and instant-messaging lives. "It's a continuation of our drive to make Yahoo the one place to be," Stoneham said.
Financial terms of the deal with Twitter were not disclosed. Yahoo said it negotiated its own deal with Twitter--rather than simply allowing Microsoft to integrate real-time results under their search partnership--because content deals signed by either party before regulators approved the search deal would not automatically transfer over. Also, Yahoo's deal is a bit more expansive than Microsoft's since it is enabled Twitter users to link their Twitter accounts with their Yahoo accounts.