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Twitter: The Real Threat To Google

At this point in time, it's hard to imagine anyone dethroning Google as king of online advertising, but as The (San Jose) Mercury News writer Chris O'Brien says, "such reigns never last...something always comes along and turns things upside-down, often emerging from a direction so surprising that the incumbent never sees it coming until it's too late."

First there was IBM, then there was Microsoft, now there is Google, and next, O'Brien says, will be Twitter. Yep, that's right, he thinks the profitless microblogging service that today has just 6 million monthly unique users will one day steal Google's crown. The chatter among serious bloggers about Twitter's potential to unseat Google is merely Exhibit A. The fact that Twitter searches increasingly offer an alternative to Google is Exhibit B. With Twitter, you can "see what's happening-right now" in a way that you can't on Google. And many people do exactly that, whether it's a live event or breaking news, Twitter allows you to follow real-time conversation threads.

Of course, the lack of a revenue model poses a serious thorn in the side of Twitter's world domination plans. Google has obviously shown that search data and advertising make a powerful combination. O'Brien says that perhaps Twitter search will yield a "more immediate and time-sensitive" form of advertising, for when people are looking for products and services right now. He adds that in this world of real-time search, Google "suddenly begins to feel old and plodding. Its search results might be minutes, hours, or even days old. Yawn!"

Read the whole story at The (San Jose) Mercury News »

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