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How Twitter Is Like YouTube And Why Google Wants To Buy It

In a blog post, search guru John Battelle argues that Twitter is in virtually the same position as YouTube was before it was acquired by Google two-and-a-half years ago. While most people thought Google bought YouTube because it wanted to get into the video business, Battelle says that it's now clear that YouTube was a search play, not a video play. Because of this, he says, "Google could not afford to NOT own YouTube."

Twitter, by comparison, is also in the search business. The microblogging service provides real-time, conversational search. As such, "it's an asset Google cannot afford to not own, and also, one they most likely do not have the ability (or brand permission) to build on their own" Battelle says. Why doesn't Google build its own Twitter? Because technology, not community, is the company's strong point. Remember, Google tried to build its own YouTube competitor in 2005, but that strategy ultimately didn't work out.

So Google probably "really, really" wants to buy Twitter, but here's the kicker: Twitter doesn't want or need to sell to anyone. Co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone already sold a company to Google once (Blogger), and they are unlikely to do it again, Battelle says. Twitter's co-founders are rich enough, and the company has plenty of VC money to see through the recession and the founding of a legitimate business model.

Read the whole story at John Battelle’s Searchblog »

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