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Thursday, February 26, 2009

My new find "Twitter search"

What makes Silicon Valley so much fun? Nothing is invincible there forever.

The motto posted on Twitter’s search page is intriguing “See what's happening — right now." And many people do exactly that. During a live event or amid breaking news, a growing number of people are turning to Twitter search to follow the conversations among its users.Very quietly, one of Twitter's most powerful applications has become its ability to allow people to conduct real-time searches. But the fact that Twitter's potential to disrupt the search market is being seriously discussed shows just how quickly the sands can shift under the feet of even a colossus like Google.

Typically, when such goliaths are slain, it's because they failed to recognize the threat and make the necessary changes until it was too late. So, it'll be interesting to see how Google — or even if Google — feels the need to throw some kind of counterpunch. In theory, Google has created a culture to keep it flexible and innovative. On the other hand, its track record of new products has been a bit lackluster.

There's always the chance, of course, that Google will quickly deploy real-time search and simply crush Twitter. But that's harder than it sounds. Twitter already has an estimated 6 million users and is growing rapidly. It would be hard to convince someone to switch to a new microblogging service at this point, and it might be just as tough to get users to search Twitter through Google when they can just do it through Twitter itself.

It might be tempting for Google to try to take some of those billions of dollars stuffed in its mattress and overwhelm Twitter and its investors with an offer that dwarfs the reported $500 million Facebook offered for the company. But such a move could also attract a healthy once-over from antitrust regulators. “Then again, I wonder how buying a zero-revenue company factors into antitrust rules” – exclaims Chris O’ Brien.

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