God bless Danny Sullivan. You should read his latest post tonight in which he tries to squeeze some information — any information — out of Google chairman Eric Schmidt about today’s rather disastrous deep Google+ integration into Google Search. Unfortunately, all he gets are bursts of hot air.
Schmidt tells him that Google would be happy to talk with Twitter and Facebook about integration into the new Search+ features. So why didn’t they do that before, you know, they rolled the feature out? Well, never you mind that. Schmidt refuses to say one way or another if they did or didn’t. “I’m not going to talk about specifics.”
My understanding is that they didn’t. But perhaps more telling is the fact that they didn’t have to.
Both Twitter and Facebook have data that is available to the public. It’s data that Google crawls. It’s data that Google even has some social context for thanks to older Google Profile features, as Sullivan points out.
It’s not all the data inside the walls of Twitter and Facebook — hence the need for firehose deals. But the data Google can get is more than enough for many of the high level features of Search+ — like the “People and Places” box, for example.