Twitter will not kill Google

So John Borthwick (former AOL exec) woke up bored yesterday and thought, you know what, let’s make some noise and see what happens if I predict that Twitter will kill Google … so props to Borthwick, he’s completely off, he knows it, but it got tons of people talking about micro-blogging, real time search, social media, and the future of search … so here’s my take.

Google is not going anywhere … People have been predicting that Google will go down for years, but they’re still the best company out there, in terms of financial stability, innovation, culture, and business strategy … Google has 81.5% of search engine market share:


Granted, and this could take an entire post by itself, the web is getting too crowded: social media, user generated content, web 2.0, read write web, call it whatever you like, it’s generating such an huge amount of content that it’s impossible to find anything with traditional keyword based search anymore. The ideal search should be totally personalized (and again, Google has been working on this for a while and I’ve been a beta tester for some personalization features), but it should also take into account search history, relevance, social bookmarking, micro-blogging, and contextual relevance … Web 3.0 or semantic web will allow search engines to tell you what you’re looking for before you try to find it …

I digress, the point I was trying to make is that as the web grows, utilities and tools get created daily, content is generated everywhere, search will have to adapt as well. So back to Borthwick; he says that real time search will kill traditional search … How does a 140 character opinion relates to a full lenght article on Wikipedia, or to a 30 seconds video, or to a corporate site, or to financial or stock info … I mean, really Borthwick, we know you are a twitter and tweetdeck shareholder, but do you really have to make sure an absurd comment?

One of the ideas behind web 2.0 is openness… Everything has open APIs nowadays, and there are many companies using them to monitor social media … So if you really want a real time search engine, it wouldn’t be just twitter … twitter is gaining huge momentum, but they only have half a dozen million users… a real time search engine would monitor twitter, joost, brightkite, facebook, linkedin, myspace, just to name a few:


There are companies already doing this; granted, they charge some good money for these services, but it’s only a matter of time until someone (Google) taps into this and make it freely available… That said, how would Twitter kill Google again?

I’ve seen some nice analytics powered by Twitter, like the chatter during the Super Bowl mapped by state over time to match the exact events on the 4h period … I love it, don’t get me wrong, but how is that really relevant to search? Imagine pulling up and all you get back is: “cardinals, steelers” … What am I supposed to do with that data? Completely irrelevant … Data was king, but now we have too much data … Context is king now …. Twitter search provides no context whatsoever, and thus is completely useless…

I almost forgot to mention, Google actually is trying to enter the micro-blogging space bundled with their really strong initiative to penetrate the mobile space … Google launched latitude last week, that combines geolocation, micro-blogging, and tap into their existing gmail user base, the Android platform, and their deal with Apple / iPhone …

Micro-blogging, mobile, open social …. Innovation is the key to success, real time search is not ready for prime time, and whoever figures out how to combine all social data with some context will have an opportunity on the search engine landscape.