After a longstanding relationship with the company, Twitter has decided to acquire Gnip, "a leading provider of social data." Numerous deals hammered out over the last few years have allowed Gnip to sell access to a realtime "firehose" of activity on Twitter and the full historical archive of public tweets.

"Gnip has played a crucial role in collecting and digesting our public data and delivering the most essential tweets to partners," Twitter said in a blog post announcing the purchase. (Gnip says it has so far delivered 2.3 trillion tweets to clients in 42 countries.) "Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter."

Twitter says it will continue to make its data available to Gnip's customers, who also turn to the company for data from Tumblr, WordPress, and dozens of other social media sites. "This acquisition signals clear recognition that investments in social data are healthier than ever," said Gnip CEO Chris Moody. "Joining Twitter also provides us access to resources and infrastructure to scale to the next level and offer new products and solutions." Both companies say they will reveal more about those upcoming services in the coming months.