Ever since Google began to gain momentum in the early years of the 21st century (and then went public in 2004), people have assumed that Google is unstoppable. Although other search engines have fought and clawed in an attempt to take back share of the search market from Google, they have all failed (yes Yahoo and Microsoft, I’m talking about you).
Because of Google’s dominance over these other large corporations, it’s easy to see why most people would assume that no company could come up with enough money to come close to competing with Google.
However, over the last couple of months, one company has emerged that could present a real threat to Google. While many people could not grasp why they had been able to raise over fifty-five million dollars in funding, people within the tech industry were still obsessed with the concept of Twitter for over a year. However, it was only recently when everyone started to realize that Twitter could actually pose a direct threat to Google (hence their ability to raise so much venture capital).
Without further ado, here’s the list of five reasons why Google should fear (or more likely, buy) Twitter:
It’s Personalized: If Google is a vast library with only one librarian to guide you around (who can be hard of hearing depending on how complicated the information is that you are looking for), then Twitter is the same library but with all of your friends (and other individuals who you trust) standing around different areas of the library to point out the information that you should actually care about.
It’s Flexible: While it’s true that you can use Google on different platforms (such as your desktop or your mobile phone), Google can’t come close to offering the wide variety of flexible experiences that Twitter can. Whether you are using IceRocket Twitter Search to search and reply in real-time, Twitpic to share pictures with your followers, Tweetdeck to keep up with your stream of Twitter activity, Tweetie to use Twitter on the iPhone or BackTweets to monitor who is tweeting about your blog or web site, it’s easy to see that the ways to adapt Twitter to your own preferences are almost endless.
It Can Be Customized: Although it’s true that Google allows you to create a personalized homepage, Google simply can’t offer the same level of customization as Twitter. For example, Twitter has mentioned the possibility of serving local news to individuals who are interested in this topic. While this may not seem that significant, the reason that it’s a big deal is because Twitter is able to inject this topic (or any other topic for that matter) directly into your Twitter stream (which means that you don’t have to worry about anything except for absorbing the information).
It’s User Generated: This obviously ties in with the first point, but it’s an important point to note in itself. While Google is dependant upon it’s crawlers to go out and find the material for its index (which then must be organized by its algorithm), Twitter doesn’t have to worry about collecting a single drop of information. Instead, it let’s its extremely active participants collect and share all of this information on their own.
It’s Fresh: Although the first four reasons on this list are all important and should be enough to make Google pay close attention to Twitter (which they already are), the most direct threat to Google is because of Twitter’s ability to deliver fresh and relevant information the minute it becomes available.
In fact, it’s this exact reason why Twitter began to gain so much attention back in October of 2007. When wildfires broke out in California, many people turned to Twitter to get up to the date information about the progress of the wildfires. While a search of Google yielded a couple of news results and a bunch of information that was not relevant at the time (since people didn’t want to know about the history of wildfires, but what was happening at the moment), Twitter was giving people the exact, fresh information that they needed.
While Google has been doing their best to deliver relevant content that is fresh (by taking steps such as creating their Query Deserves Freshness model), so far Twitter has proved that once again, human contributions simply cannot be matched by an algorithm.
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