Google's interest in Twitter is all about the consciousness search

April 04, 2009 11:48 PM EDT

Why would Google want to buy Twitter? They have yet to properly monetize Youtube, another company they've recently purchased for what some think was way over value.

Sure, Google has lots and lots of money to spend. But there isn't much to Twitter that Google couldn't recreate itself with its vast internal resources. So why spend a billion dollars on something so (relatively) simple?

For one, Twitter is already running at full speed. Google can't recreate the buzz and the excitement in the rapidly growing Twitter community.

I got a Twitter account over a year ago. Initially it was pretty boring in there. Only a few people of any interest were posting material and there was no really good way to follow it.

In July, Twitter made the move of the century by acquiring the Twitter search engine called Summize. (If Google were really smart, they would have bought Summize last year.) Summize is the engine that searches Twitter and perhaps just as importantly, pulls trends from all of the millions of Twits. In a blog post at the time, Twitterers said:

Summize is a popular service for searching Twitter and keeping up with emerging trends in real-time. Like Twitter, Summize offers an API so other products and services can filter the constant queue of updates in a variety of ways. The Summize service and API will be merged with our own and integrated under the Twitter brand.

There is an undeniable need to search, filter, and otherwise interact with the volumes of news and information being transmitted to Twitter every second. We will be adding search and its related features to the core offering of Twitter in the very near future. In the meantime, everyone is welcome to access search.twitter.com—there’s no need for a Twitter account.

They were right. Over the past year, Twitter has become a totally different tool. While I get a kick out of seeing what my friends are doing and like to update them with neat things that I observe, the real value for me in Twitter is the real-time search and trending.

Yesterday's North Korean missile launch is a great example. Before any of the news sites could put anything up (I think most of the original info was provided by a BBC report), Twitter's trends reported "North Korea launches Missle." When I switched over to Google news, nothing was there yet on the missile launch. I had to find the story through the Tweets.

If I am looking for information about a hot technology topic, Twitter is the best place to find up-to-the-second information. Technorati and Google Blog search are just a little too slow.

This is why Google wants Twitter. Twitter has enticed people to share news, events, and nothing short of their consciousness with the rest of the world. At the same time it is able to harvest that information into a valuable product to consumers. Google can't make this. They must buy it (either wholesale or as a service).