Why would Google want Twitter? Michael Arrington argues Twitter's real value is in search. It holds the keys to the best real time database and search engine on the Internet, and Google doesn't even have a horse in the game:
More and more people are starting to use Twitter to talk about brands in real time as they interact with them. And those brands want to know all about it, whether to respond individually, or simply gather the information to see what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong. And all of it is discoverable at search.twitter.com, the search engine that Twitter acquired last summer. People searching for news. Brands searching for feedback. That's valuable stuff. Twitter knows it, too. They're going to build their business model on it. Forget small time payments from users for pro accounts and other features, all they have to do is keep growing the base and gather more and more of those emotional grunts. In aggregate it's extremely valuable. And as Google has shown, search is vastly monetizable - somewhere around 40% of all on-line advertising revenue goes to ads on search listings today.
Frankly speaking, I have never used Twitter and it is extremely unlikely that I will post my feedback there about the products and services I happened to buy. Nor will I base my future buying decisions on Twitter data. The opinion of one person that I know and trust is more credible for me and is more likely to affect my decisions rather than the aggregate feelings of the masses, but that's me. For all I know, some companies like Starbucks for example, regularly scan blogs for customer feedback and critics, and they take it very seriously. Write something negative about Starbucks, someone will contact you. Hence, there is value here for companies, not for marketing but for realigning and improving their products and services.
Another reason for Google can be protective action. Just like they bought Feedburner and Blogger, we can assume that it is better in the long run if Google owns Twitter rather than a competitor; it is a popular service and has some search and market analysis value.
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