If a report from a credible tech site is to be believed, Google is in talks to buy Twitter. It appears the search engine would be particularly interested in the ability to index the site’s real-time updates.
The report comes from Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, the computing news section of the Washington Post. He writes that two separate sources describe the negotiations as ‘late-stage’, though he’s since noted a third source tells him the talks are in their early stages. The latter source suggests the discussion may be more about a real-time search engine project than an outright acquisition.
If Google were to take over Twitter completely, it could be a potential output for a highly-targeted form of its contextual advertising. After all, if the site is taken literally, Twitter’s owners know exactly what you are thinking at the moment you post an update. It’s not that hard to imagine a situation where you tweet that you have a nasty cold and a moment later you see an ad by a pharmaceutical firm. The danger, of course, is that this would be so overbearing (and Big Brotherish) that it puts people off using the site.
The reported deal would see Google paying for the purchase either in cash or in publicly traded Google stock (which some cynics would say is probably a safer bet than cash these days). That’s a significant difference from the failed offer by Facebook, which wanted to pay in its own stock. In theory the offer was to buy Twitter with stock worth $500 billion. However, as Facebook isn’t a public company, the true value of its stock is very disputable, which made for a major stumbling block in the talks.
Neither Google nor Twitter has yet made any public comment on the rumors.