The 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:
- 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.
- Hot topics: Google could gather valuable marketing knowledge about the latest buzz on the net.
- User base: Twitter has almost 10 million users that Google can target.
- Advertising revenue: chat-sensitive adverts could appear.
- Search: if Google can not monetize Twitter’s search, then no one can.
- 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?