Google in ‘late-stage’ talks to acquire Twitter

3 Apr 2009

Search engine giant Google is apparently in ‘late-stage’ talks to buy micro-blogging site Twitter, according to a report on news site Techcrunch.

The Techcrunch report cites “two separate people close to the negotiations”, but either company has yet to officially comment on or deny these reports.

While Twitter has been rapidly growing its user base over the past year, much of the talk surrounding the company concerns how it is going to monetise this success.

Earlier this week, co-founder Biz Stone told a UK magazine that while the current service would never demand payment, Twitter was looking into a pay model for added extras.

This, however, is not the most interesting development from Twitter in the past week, nor is it the reason why Google would want to acquire the company. The fact is, Twitter is going deeper into search – real-time search.

“A few weeks ago, we started testing Twitter Search in the web interface for a subset of folks,” said Stone on the site’s official blog.

“The best way to experience Twitter Search is when it’s a natural part of your normal Twitter experience,” he continued.

If this is the direction that Twitter plans to head in, this makes it a growing threat to Google, or perhaps an ideal firm to acquire.

If the Google Twitter-buying rumour proves correct, this will not the first time Twitter has been made an offer. Last year, social-networking site Facebook was in discussions for a US$500m takeover that never happened (but that didn’t stop Facebook from reshuffling its layout and functionality to closer resemble the micro-blogging site).

This is also not the first time Google has shown interest in a service of this kind. Back in 2007, it bought Twitter rival Jaiku, before abandoning further development earlier this year.

The question is probably not, is Google really interested in Twitter, but will Twitter hold out and hold its own?

By Marie Boran