Google Joins Twitter: Playing Around, or Preparing to Purchase?

It's hard to think of a brand more synonymous with Web communication than Google, considering the company's domination of the search market space. But as busy as the Mountain View, CA-based company has been with its new toys as of late -- Android-based phones, new Web advertising initiatives, a customized Web browser -- it's sorely neglected its account on one of the Web's most up-and-coming communication platforms: Twitter, or the "YouTube of real-time search," as suggested by John Battelle.

The irony of that statement isn't lost, especially given his argument that Twitter is now in the exact same position YouTube was immediately prior to Google's acquisition of the Web property. But Google didn't pick up YouTube for its video capacity, per se. Battelle suggests that the move was specifically targeted toward YouTube's search capacity--which now gets more eyeballs than Google rival Yahoo.

Combine Twitter's ramping up of its real-time search capabilities with the service's core metrics, nearly 2.7 million U.S. visitors for the month of December 2008 alone, and a potent picture emerges. In addition, the company not only turned down a $500 million offer from Facebook in November, but it's gone ahead and raised an additional $35 million in funding from its venture capital partners just earlier this month.

There's no doubt that both the business and consumer world see an interest in what Twitter has to offer. That said, is Google going to pull a YouTube and swoop in to make a bid for the site's growing search capabilities? Would a partnership with Google finally give Twitter access to a successful advertising platform and, more importantly, a continued revenue stream that the company has sought since its inception? And most importantly, where would Google first announce its intentions? On the Google blog? On its new Twitter feed?

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