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Twitter and Google? Just an ad deal

While rumors continue to fly about Google buying up Twitter or teaming up on some kind of real-time search engine, the real story is a bit more mundane. Advertising Age reports that the two companies simply rolled out a new ad deal. End of story.

In the deal, Google will let marketers stream their five most recent Tweets across its AdSense network. The first customer, Intuit, directs people clicking on the ads to Intuit's Twitter stream, instead of its web site or other landing page. The idea is to increase the following for Intuit's Turbotax Twitter presence. Intuit's director of marketing describes the strategy this way:

"We're measuring this [in part by] how many followers can we get. Can we get to 100,000 by allowing people to know we're a resource? We're not going to hard sell you on the product, but we want people to know there are lots of people here who can help answer your questions."

eWeek's Michael Hickens says the new deal swooped in under most bloggers' radar, since they were preoccupied with the Google-Twitter acquisition/search engine rumors:

So it looks like this is the deal Google and Twitter have been working on, and not an acquisition as Michael Arrington breathlessly reported. Unfortunately, in her zeal to twit Arrington, AllThingsD's Kara Swisher missed the actual story.

Maybe. But Twitter's founder Biz Stone refused to say definitively whether Twitter was in play for a Google buy or working on a new Twitter-flavored search engine, choosing instead to emphasize the fact that Twitter is a new business still focused on growth and value. And Google, not uncharacteristically, isn't talking.

It just seems hard to believe Arrington, Swisher and all their sources got it so wrong and all this chatter is simply about a fairly mundane Twitter ad deal. Stay tuned.

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