Google is in “late stage” talks to acquire microblogging service Twitter, according to a report on Thursday on TechCrunch citing two unnamed sources.
All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher, however, on Friday said the report isn’t true, also citing unnamed sources and saying the companies have only been in product-related discussions. And a TechCrunch update backpedaled a bit, citing another source who said acquisition talks were at a “fairly early stage.”
Twitter lets people post short 140-character messages; people often subscribe to follow the stream of these tweets from acquaintances and, increasingly, companies and celebrities. After an unpleasant rocky period in which the company’s servers frequently were crushed under the strain of the service, Twitter has experienced tremendous growth.
Google’s origins, core technology, and profits come from search, but Twitter would fit in neatly with the company’s somewhat lackluster attempt to become more of a social hub too. Facebook, which attempted to acquire Twitter in 2008, is the exemplar of just how rich a medium the Internet can become for social interactions. Social sites, though, have had a hard time showing they can mean revenue and profits as well.Twitter isn’t just about sharing with friends, though. It’s increasingly about search as well. Twitter has been working to elevate the prominence of search, which can give a near-real-time window into what’s on the mind of innumerable users.
And Google knows well how to treat new sources of information as signals that weigh into search results. The company has been gradually blending into its search results data from sources such as blogs and news stories that reflect new information arriving on the Web.
Plenty of people search for relatively timeless information, but plane crashes, earthquakes, election results, and other events are popular search subjects, too, and Google constantly strives to better match its results with what people are actually seeking.
Google declined to comment for this story. Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.