Will Google Buy Twitter?

Google-TwitterThe latest rumor to circulate the Internet is that Google is in the final stages of negotiation to buy Twitter, the micro-blogging service.

Twitter sign-ups have exploded in the past year, partly owing to endorsements by celebrities and features within the popular press. Twitter would certainly be a logical choice for Google in its bid to own the Internet.

Twitter has recently been valued at $250 million although the company is yet to earn a penny. It turned down Facebook’s offer of $500 million only a few months back (although part of that included Facebook stock which has no distinct value as yet). Google’s offer will need to be good.

But what is Twitter’s real value to Google? The likely possibilities include:

  1. News: breaking stories are often posted to Twitter first, e.g. the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the plane crash into the New York Hudson river, and the shocking revelation that Stephen Fry was stuck in a lift.
  2. Hot topics: Google could gather valuable marketing knowledge about the latest buzz on the net.
  3. User base: Twitter has almost 10 million users that Google can target.
  4. Advertising revenue: chat-sensitive adverts could appear.
  5. Search: if Google can not monetize Twitter’s search, then no one can.
  6. Market domination: owning Twitter makes Google bigger and stronger than before.

Google would also be able to offer Twitter the technology and expertise to scale up their operation effectively and reliably.

However, Google does not always get everything right: YouTube, for example, is yet to return a profit. There is also the likelihood that Twitter is a fad and will only remain popular until the next “big thing” appears.

What do you think? Would Google and Twitter make a good partnership? How would competitors such as Microsoft react? Can Twitter be profitable and have a long-term future?

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  • Tim

    Don’t forget that Twitter currently has the best real time search-engine on the market ;-)

  • http://leonpaternoster.com/blog leonpaternoster

    Well, I think Twitter’s here to stay: its beauty is that it’s so simple that it has a million and one uses while remaining, uhm, simple to use.

    I’m not anti-Google by any means, but I rather like Twitter’s independence: it still feels quirky, original, fresh etc., even if it is down quite a lot. Text ads would look awful and be particularly intrusive.

    Is Twitter owned by a handful of people, or an individual? That’s a lot of money…

  • Sean

    I don’t think Twitter will sell, they are only getting started!

    http://twitter.com/seanyoughal

  • http://www.joecianflone.com ChestRockwell

    I think it may be a smart move to buy Twitter. Going on the basis that Twitter has staying power and its growth rate continues at its current pace, it has the potential to be facebook size in the next couple of years. Also, I think Twitter fits in nicely with Google’s mission of organizing the worlds information. Not to mention that ad revenue alone could be huge and trend analysis could be even bigger.

    @jcianflone

  • aaroncampbell

    There was a good post on this over at Web Dev News earlier today: TechCrunch stirs Google-Twitter Rumor Mill

  • sean

    I think it would not be great for Twitter to sell, if they sell google will only put ads on it and won’t do much more with it only watch it grow and add features from time to time, if they don’t sell Twitter will get better and better.I don’t think they will sell anyway.

    @seanyoughal

  • Ash

    If they want to grow more rapidly, then it could be a helpful acquisition. There’s still so many people that don’t use this tool that could really make good use of it.

  • Mad_DOOM

    I hope twitter turn down google offer, sometime when a product or service acquire by google, it will make it bad than before like feedburner is one of the example that google make it worse than before.

  • Anonymous

    From what I understand Google is not considering buying twitter. The two are in talks of an Ad/ Search partnership but that is the extent.

    I cant find the article where I read this, but it said someone closely involved smashed the rumors. Twitters CEO has made statements declaring it will continue to grow, and add value, while remaining independent, while emphasizing independent.

  • Mark Guadalupe

    Twitter ill only remain popular until the next “big thing” appears.

  • http://www.onrustig.net Rustig

    Does that mean that we will be swamped with ads?

  • Anon

    Google’s lead designer just left to join Twitter! (as the rumors go)

  • Jerich

    Hello ads. goodbye twitter.

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    Does that mean that we will be swamped with ads?

    I suppose it’s possible, although Google rarely overdoes the advertising. Also, many people use third-party Twitter clients – how would adverts be sent to those?

    Let’s see what happens if Google takeover. They probably wouldn’t alter the system for many months anyway.

  • ionutzp

    I think Twitter is a good option for Google. I’d buy it :)

  • http://tizzoo.com/ Bill_Stanbrook

    A lot of people seem to be having a winge about the possibility of ads appearing on Twitter. Considering Twitter has yet to turn a profit, I’m somewhat curious about how these people think Twitter is going to monetize itself without putting up ads. The alternative would probably either be a paid service, or none at all.

    All these huge social networking sites that are in the red financially worry me somewhat. I can’t help thinking that another dot com bubble burst may not be too far off, particularly given the current financial crisis.

  • Joey Sichol

    dumb, dumb, dumb – Why would google buy twitter, just to have to totally reprogram the whole thing to make it work correctly and kill the fail whale?

    Why pay half a billion when you could put the google workforce on it to make a much better option for millions less?

    Maybe google wants to attach text ads to tweets, to see how that revenue model would work. If it works, great, they can buyout twitter and get live search. If not, twitter dies and google goes on to the next big thing…

    Just use a catchy name like GoogleNow for live, real-time search. (That’s probably all google wants, is the name.) Open up the APIs and make a better front end, so people don’t have to hack together their own solutions.

    Lastly, I followed the Mumbai attacks on twitter and they were WORTHLESS! Far too much noise to get the real news… I’d rather wait twenty minutes and get the information from a reliable source. Rumor and hearsay are NOT ‘news.’

  • aaroncampbell

    A lot of people seem to be having a winge about the possibility of ads appearing on Twitter. Considering Twitter has yet to turn a profit, I’m somewhat curious about how these people think Twitter is going to monetize itself without putting up ads. The alternative would probably either be a paid service, or none at all.

    I thoroughly agree. At some point the service will have to monetize or close. I prefer that they monetize with ads rather than paid accounts. Not because I don’t want to pay for an account, but because a lot of other people won’t and the dynamic of Twitter REQUIRES a lot of people.

    dumb, dumb, dumb – Why would google buy twitter, just to have to totally reprogram the whole thing to make it work correctly and kill the fail whale?

    They could simply migrate it to their servers. Throw enough processing power at it and the fail whale will go away, even without having to reprogram it (reprogramming could be done over time).

    Why pay half a billion when you could put the google workforce on it to make a much better option for illions less?

    In my opinion, they would buy it for the twitter name and users, not for the code.

  • http://www.flashminddesign.com flashmind

    The moment CNN & MSNBC started using Twitter is the same moment Twitter caught the eye of big businesses. Whether it is Google or some other company, Twitter will be sold. It is almost inevitable.

  • http://www.flashminddesign.com flashmind

    I also think people forget that twitter is already recognizable and is already well known now. For google to remake, repackage, and advertise a whole new thing would take to much time and to much money. In the long run it is better to buy then to wait.

  • http://www.leapgo.com LeapGo

    I hope they do just so they can take over the hosting. It would be nice to have that site be responsive and reliable.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with Twitter is that it can be replicated quite quickly thus their value will diminish as other companies hit the scene. Its not as if they are Google search which has such a strong brand that others find it extrmely difficult to compete or get a footing in search. Why doesn’t Google create their own micro-blogging service and advertiose on Google.com?

    10 million users isn’t a huge number by interrnet standards and there is plenty of catching up time. Sometimes I guess acquisition is faster way to market share.

  • Breg

    I am curious, does anybody get traffic from Twitter search. have you studied your Anlytics or Statcounter reports and seen traffic from a Twitter source?

  • M

    I wonder why nobody has talked about Jaiku – it does the same thing as Twitter (as far as I know), and is already owned by Google. What’s more, Jaiku offers SMS services in many more countries than Twitter does. Maybe a case of Google Video vs. YouTube?

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @M
    Google announced they’re dropping Jaiku. It will still be available, but the system is unlikely to evolve or be promoted.