Google Search Appliance Now Indexes Twitter Tweets

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-12-11

Google's enterprise team Dec. 10 said it now surfaces tweets next to search results in the Google Search Appliance, a rack-mount server the company sells to businesses that want the bang of Google's search behind their corporate firewalls.

The move came three days after Google began streaming tweets in its core Web search results in real-time, showing a new wrinkle in the search engine giant's use of the Twitter Firehose API.

But why put tweets, those 140-character social shout-outs, behind the firewall for users trying to find info such as human resources documents in an intranet portal?

Cyrus Mistry, product manager for Google's Enterprise Search team, said even corporate workers want social information in their knowledge work diet. Twitter let users tell one another what is going on around them at that moment, making the results Google can surface in its GSA current and relevant.

"Social information is important for businesses: employees searching for information needed to do their jobs benefit from real-time news too," Mistry said.

"They might be developing a new breakfast cereal, or designing a marketing plan for a clothing line, or writing strategy report for a political campaign. In all of these cases, understanding what is being said just as Twitter users are saying it can be invaluable."

Mistry believes tweets can help workers more easily "leverage the wisdom of the crowd."

Twitter results will appear to the right of the corporate search results, sitting right above related results, which GSA culls from the core Web search on

Google offers Web results with the corporate results to help employees think differently about a particular topic and approach it in new ways, Mistry explained.

Turning the Twitter results on should take IT administrators no more than 15 minutes, and Google provides instructions for doing so here. Admins have the flexibility to turn on tweets for only some users, all users, or let users choose whether they want to see the Twitter results by using a keyword trigger.

Twitter enjoyed an explosion of new support this week. Earlier, Citysearch and Urbanspoon began letting local businesses integrate their Twitter account or create a new account directly from the business profiles.

Also, on the same day GSA began rendering tweets visible, Yahoo began offering tweets in its core Web search.

Meanwhile, Google's Friend Connect service connected with Twitter last week, letting users sign into its more than 9 million Google Friend Connect sites with their Twitter login identification.

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