April 3, 2009

Thoughts on the rumored Google/Twitter deal

Michael Arrington reports that Google and Twitter are contemplating both:

I have three initial thoughts on this:

1. Clearly, in Google’s mission to “organize all the world’s information,” there are several web areas it isn’t yet doing well in, and one of those is microblogs. What’s more, much as in the case of YouTube, it’s hard to see how Google would do that organizing any time soon unless it owned or otherwise was in bed with the leading platform for that kind of content — i.e., Twitter.

2. The YouTube example is apt in another way as well — it’s not clear where the monetization would come from. Google famously doesn’t make much advertising revenue from YouTube. And Twitter is even worse as an advertising platform; sticking ads into the tweetstream would quickly drive users elsewhere, and any other advertising scheme would likely fail because of the broad variety of interfaces — such as various mobile phones — Twitterers use to get at the service.

3. I’ve been suggesting all along that Twitter needs radical user experience enhancements. But when has Google ever made made user experience enhancements to a service? Its core search engine always looks pretty much the same. Ditto GMail. Ditto Blogger. Ditto YouTube.


2 Responses to “Thoughts on the rumored Google/Twitter deal”

  1. Christopher Bird on April 3rd, 2009 9:23 am

    Google doesn’t have to make money directly from the advertising – just being able to analyze the public twitter timeline (just like it analyzes email) can provide it with trend data. Popular tags, mentions of certain words, etc.

    If tweets were encrypted it would suddenly become a lot less interesting

  2. Curt Monash on April 3rd, 2009 2:09 pm

    In principle it could do that by looking at everybody’s Twitter web pages. Yes, direct access to the API makes things a lot easier …

    Hmm. But how do you envision them making a lot of money w/o direct advertising being part of it?

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