The top story at Google News Sci-Tech right now -- not surprisingly -- is heated-up rumors about Google either a) beginning serious work on, or b) being on the verge of buying Twitter.
For someone who really does not get Twitter, at least not on an emotional level, I do seem to follow it pretty closely these days. Probably because I don't get it, I suppose.
In the near term, Google buying what Eric Schmidt called a "poor man's e-mail system" would give Google yet another captured platform for serving its advertising products. And in case you didn't know this already, Google is an advertising company. The bandied-about asking price of $1 billion for an audience base -- and really, that's all Twitter constitutes; the technology would be easy enough for Google to knock off, if it wanted -- seems steep to most observers.
I am perplexed at the speculation, noted here at PC World, that Twitter could help Google develop "real-time search." Twitter can offer real-time search because all the content it searches resides on its own data stores. If we found a compelling business case for it, we could buy a mess of hardware and roll out virtual real-time search here at IT Business Edge. We don't see that need -- I suppose Twitter does, since a great many Tweets are devoted to moment-by-moment updates on banal stuff. (Did I mention that I don't really get Twitter?)
I continue to think that the real down-the-road benefit of a service like Twitter to Google would be to tie it into a free/built-in text messaging gateway -- kinda like the one Google has -- as a value-add service to build out customer loyalty for telecom providers. Embedding such functionality would be a pretty big adoption driver for Android, I'd guess, and gateway-included apps for the other mobile OSs would come with -- you guessed it -- Google ads. And of course, mobile advertising is where it's at right now.
But Google doesn't need any help with search tech, thanks.