Twitter's falling share prices have, once again, sparked speculation that the time is right for Google to buy Twitter, but what benefits would the buyout really have?
With Twitter shares at an all-time low amidst reports that the social media site has failed to win new users, the Internet is awash once again with speculation that Google may buy Twitter.
Twitter failed to grow in Q2, which has led to a sort of Wall Street panic with shares rapidly declining. According to many media outlets, the time seems right for Google to finally pull the trigger and buy Twitter. However, according to well-regarded tech writer of The Information, Amir Efrati, Google co-founder Larry Page "doesn't give a f*** about Twitter."
"Google will probably buy Twitter." Google's recent 10-Q would seem to make it less likely. Also Larry doesn't give a f--k about Twtr.— Amir Efrati (@amir) August 5, 2015
But maybe he should. According to founder and chief executive (CEO) of Agent-cy, Jasmine Sandler, Google has an eye on optimizing for mobile, which a Twitter purchase could possibly bolster.
"Google needs to be more mobile friendly to make more money with their ads, and it knows it," Sandler says. "Purchasing Twitter can help support that. It can then own the Twitter search function, which should help its real-time SEO efforts."
Steve Liu, director of SEO at Tribal Worldwide New York, believes that the organic search data alone would make Twitter a wise purchase for Google.
"From Google's perspective, any data is good data. Data where it can get detailed user profile information for 300 million users and a steady stream of Tweets that are self-regulating and point to real trends in the world, are things that Google can use to greatly boost its (Read more...) organic search algorithm. That is, of course, assuming that such an acquisition wouldn't first spur a new category of Twitter-for-SEO spam," Liu says.
And Google's own actions concerning Twitter are strong indicators that Larry Page might actually care about Twitter data after all, since the company re-purchased access to Twitter's data "firehose" last spring.
"For all the bearish sentiment towards Twitter lately, it still remains the one platform closest to 'real time search' that's out there," Liu says. "Google knows this, which is why this past March it decided to gain access to the firehose again after being shut off for years. If you consider all the money that Google spent trying to recreate a lot of what Twitter offers with failed products like Google+, Jaiku, and Buzz, chances are if it could go back through time, it'd happily take all the money it poured into those projects and use them to acquire a proven product."
Certainly being backed by Google could stand to make Twitter the social media powerhouse (and Facebook rival) it once promised to be. "It seems like the top three platforms, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, are always fighting for market share," Sandler says."This is why you see Twitter adding more advertising opportunities, Facebook adding more LinkedIn functionalities, and LinkedIn doing the same with Facebook-related services."
But a Google buyout of Twitter would stand to grow users the same way the company grew YouTube, giving it a real advantage over competitors. Google would provide Twitter with the opportunity to alter its definition of what a "user" is, Liu says.
"Wall Street has a fairly myopic view of a user and sees Twitter's monthly active users plateauing at around 316 million. If Google and Twitter were to somehow join forces and Google were to grow it the same way it grew YouTube - by focusing on the core YouTube audience's needs first and foremost and then creating a virtuous cycle that uses Google's search market share to build YouTube's user base - that could redefine exactly what a 'Twitter user' is," comments Liu.
However, it's hard to pretend that Google hasn't fumbled social in the past, especially after the news that the search engine was offically distancing itself from its failed Google+ experiment. The company would certainly have to learn from past mistakes to avoid yet another search misstep.
"Google's own worst enemy is Google," Liu says. "For all the YouTube success stories we've seen, there have been similar ones that have failed. With acquisitions such as Dodgeball and Blogger, where it took a high-flying concept and basically drove it into the ground because of its own burgeoning bureaucracy and overhead, Google would be foolish not to make a play for Twitter - especially if the social platform's share prices continue to decline."
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