Using Google to search the Internet helps people to find information on a subject. As Twitter's search continues to evolve, using Twitter for search will help people find out where to find current discussions on a subject.
Think of how powerful this is. If I want to research a subject, Google is the way to go. If I want to find out what is being said about a topic at any given moment, Twitter is my source. People are already fascinated by watching people discuss various events or topics live in real time, using Twitter search and # (hash tags). What these services do is to provide me with information (a stream of people's thoughts) on any keyword, or series of keywords. Sound familiar?
If this doesn't sound like an amazingly useful and innovative breakthrough, it's only because I am a lousy writer and can't do it justice here. Search functionality on Twitter has a way to go (another reason why Google makes a perfect partner), but imagine if I could search New York City for people discussing "run central park." I am going to see the most recent thoughts of people who have, or are going to run in Central Park. That might produce results like: "Just went for a run in central park, big event near Tavern On The Green really slowed me down" or "about to go for a run in central park, going to do 4 miles, anyone else going," Again, if this is not striking you as an incredibly useful tool, then it's because I am not doing the potential for searching people's current discussions justice.
Then comes the money. Google has proven that if you can provide a useful search experience, then you can provide useful marketing. If you can provide useful marketing, you can return amazing ROI for marketers. If you can provide amazing ROI for marketers, you can make a lot of money. If Twitter perfects the search of current discussions, monetization will be right around the corner. There will be some rules that will need to be adapted from Google's AdWords model, but the sentiment is the same. Would Samsung like to be put in front of someone who wants to know what people are saying about flat-screen TVs? For that matter, would any brand like the opportunity to talk to people who are searching for what other people are saying about their brand?
There are a lot of reason why Twitter has amazing value to marketers, and therefore revenue potential even beyond search, but search is the key to most of them. I had a conversation with Forrester's Josh Bernoff (http://twitter.com/jbernoff ) at last week's 4As conference about just this subject and he had some very interesting thoughts. If Google wants to organize the world's information and make it accessible [and monetize it], I would like to point out that services like Twitter and Facebook status updates (big caveat is that you have to know Facebook wants to do this as well, and Microsoft will want to help) are becoming a very large part of the world's information: information about what people are saying right now.
What do you think? @ me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/joemarchese and/or leave a comment below. I read every one even if I can't respond to them all.