There been increasing chatter about the prospect of Twitter’s real-time search being a threat to Google of late, however, like many industry professionals, I’m still rather cynical.
Of course, we all love a “Could this kill that?” post and hyperbole livens up an otherwise dull day, but such passion is rarely a hallmark of deep thought.
The problems, however, are numerous.
The most obvious one is that Google’s AdWords-AdSense combo, their reverse auction based advertising platform, generates over $1B in spare cash per quarter, while Twitter is still raising funds from (admittedly willing) investors to help fuel it’s rising (bills and) users.
Granted, there was a time when Google wasn’t making money either, however, that doesn’t exactly prove that every website that is’t one day will. It’s also possible that Twitter’s search engine will turn into a tidy little money spinner, without ever growing to Google’s epic proportions.
More to the point perhaps, despite its global success Google hasn’t killed MS or even matched its earnings, as yet, so despite some claims to the contrary even if Twitter does develop a business model its ability to threaten Google is far from certain.
Also, it’s claimed that Google’s search isn’t real-time, which is somewhat true. In some senses, it’s not that far off. New pages (such as this one) for example are indexed within the hour and entirely new websites are index by Google in a day or two, as discussed a while ago.
Leading news websites with regular updates may be indexed quicker still and I don’t consider within the hour far off real-time for most purposes, as few websites, aside from micro-blogging social media such as Twitter, update any quicker than that anyway.
It’s also not beyond reason that Google with it’s skill and resources in search could roll out real-time indexing of Twitter, nullifying much of their advantage. – It’s interesting to note that it’s presumably searching Twitter where half of the value lies. – The catch is that Twitter probably still won’t be much use for searching the rest of the web, and Twitter isn’t about to replace the world-wide-web any time soon, so it looks like Google web search will always have a place, even if dedicated Twitter search doesn’t.
Equally, even if Twitter grows into a massive property (more page views than Yahoo, Facebook and MySpace combined, for example) that still doesn’t prove it’s monetisation potential, least of all beyond a few popular sectors such as Entertainment and Fashion.
Twitter, much like Facebook currently has fantiastic growth, but is atctually still running at a loss. So, rather that asking whether Twitter could kill Google, perhaps we should still be asking “Will Twitter Kill Twitter?” as it’s escalating bills could bite long before Google bothers too.