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Friday, February 27, 2009

Wedding Bells For Google And Twitter?

Could Google be eyeing Twitter as an acquisition?

That possibility's got the blogosphere all "a-twitter," pardon the pun. Earlier this week, Google activated its Twitter account and all Tweets broke loose. As of Friday morning, Google had more than 26,000 followers.

The speculation is that, in a move similar to its purchase of YouTube, Google is interested in buying Twitter. Now, Google didn't buy YouTube for its video capability—or at least not primarily. Google acquired YouTube in large part for its search tools. And it has paid off. Last summer, ComScore reported that YouTube's search traffic for August surpassed Yahoo's, which dropped some 5 percent in traffic from July.

Twitter, too, has enormous search potential—just take into account its roughly 3 million visitors a month. All those eyeballs make a huge potential customer base. And that's something that Twitter hasn't been able to capitalize on: The site has not (yet) turned its popularity into profits.

Twitter has become a phenomenon in recent months, with users responding to a simple question: "What are you doing?" That's not too far afield from the Facebook prompt: "Username is " Coincidentally, Facebook recently offered $500 million for Twitter, an offer that was rejected.

Twitter users log into the free service from their computers or cell phones to share thoughts, or "tweets." Subjects can be personal or businesslike. Corporations increasingly are using the service as a way to keep in touch with their customer base. Considered a "microblogging" site, it shares many social networking attributes and users can follow what other people tweet about in their network posts.

Recent reports said Twitter founders are looking at taking an "initial stab at making money" by April. By then we'll know whether that plan includes Google. Stay a-Twitter.


Jennifer Bosavage


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