I ran into a good friend at this year’s Web 2.0 conference & expo here in San Francisco and while talking to her & a couple of her friends, I was asked about my thoughts on whether it’s a good thing for Google to be acquiring Twitter. My response? It should not happen.
Just why would I say this? It’s because I think that Google is now the 800 pound gorilla in the search industry and simply absorbing what many people would think is a small-sized, but technologically and financially sound company is going to cause an uproar and I believe that it will ruin the Twitter experience. Biz Stone, one of the founders of Twitter was reported to have even said that the micro-blogging site was in talks with the search engine, but stressed that Twitter wants to remain an independent company.
Okay, I’m happy that a big brand like Google is showing interest in Twitter, but I think that they should back off. Yes, I know that the reason why Google wants to go after Twitter is because of the popularity of the application and also because in this new day of search, social media tracking & profile search are in demand. People are no longer comfortable with simply going onto a search engine and viewing websites. They want to know what other people are saying about them and their products in real-time.
So what exactly is my aversion to the Google-Twitter marriage? It’s unholy! I like both companies – really I do, but I must say that Twitter search is truly unique and for Google to buy it and say that they’re going to leave it independent is probably a little bizarre to believe. Myspace and FOX were married and claimed to leave the status quo unchanged, but after looking at the site, do you think that it’s really independent? Google would try and mesh its way into the Twitter search application and that would foul things up. What about long-term dating? Twitter and Google could go out on dates for an indefinite amount of time and they would reciprocate affection periodically with Google always flipping the bill. Twitter would still be its own individual and would be free to break up with Google if it didn’t work out.
Look at the noise factor if Google tried to incorporate their own search results with Twitter search. Right now if you google any keyword, like “Apple”, you’re going to get a search result page that has listings for the fruit, the computer manufacturer, and anything else relating to that – plus any keyword buys that companies are paying for you to click on their link. In addition, throw in some other tidbits of news relating to articles & feeds aggregated from major publications and any images scoured online and you’ve got a search result page with a lot of noise. So what benefit would someone get from viewing the search page with having profile/conversation searches included? You wouldn’t know where to look!
Yes, people are interested in what folks are saying here and now and that’s the beauty of what Twitter offers you…but only from those that are saying it on Twitter. Leave it alone. Google is missing out by buying it later on except the one reason I can think of why they’d want to merge is because they want to take Twitter out of play. If you’re going to buy someone, stick with your vertical to make it more understandable why it’s being done. Google should buy Yahoo. Not Twitter.