Google and Twitter, rumored to be meeting late last week, were huddling to discuss: a) new applications, b) mergers, c) acquisition, d) monetizing strategies, or, e) "We didn't huddle, we didn't even talk!"
The answer, much to our curiosity's disappointment, was "none of the above," and we were left, yearning, with no juicy story. Until that is, we looked a little deeper: There it was, a story, neatly nestled inside the rumor...our dusky jewel, ripe for choosing.
Whether Google buys Twitter, doesn't buy Twitter, or marries them is not news...it's a forgone conclusion. Some company, (probably Google), is going to purchase Twitter. But, it could also turn out to be MSN, Yahoo!, AOL, NewsCorp, or even Verizon. The real content, the actual tale to be told is this: Whenever Google acts, we, the denizens of the Internet, pay attention. We sit up, sign in, and search for news. Once found, like kids with secrets, we repeat it. Discuss it. Argue about it. Text it. Blog it. E-mail it. Tweet it. Opine it. Feed it. Post it. Which leads us to face it: Google is more respected than Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Bono, and Perez Hilton, combined. Google is the Internet's darling, the sweet Lindsay Lohan before she was arrested. Twice. Google is young and beautiful, the little girl from Disney that won our hearts. Google is the online business' shining star. In December 2007, FastCompany had this to say about Google:
"... Its performance is the envy of executives and engineers around the world ... For techno-evangelists, Google is a marvel of Web brilliance ... For Wall Street, it may be the IPO that changes everything (again) ... But Google is also a case study in savvy management -- a company filled with cutting-edge ideas, rigorous accountability, and relentless attention to detail ... Here's a search for the growth secrets of one of the world's most exciting young companies -- a company from which every company can learn."
Which is not to say that Google is perfect, or has not made mistakes; they just don't make many. As a highly respected company, with the starlet flair, Google is in the spotlight, the subject of speculation, rumor, innuendo, and gossip. So, as in the case of the Twitter reporting last week, online and traditional media sources, thirsty for being credited with announcing Google's next venture, often print rumors before the facts are known. Although it's shoddy journalism, many of the online sources probably don't care about being wrong, as long as they're first. Headlines and copy can be changed in seconds. The take-away is simple: Not only does Google play an important part in our lives, but we spend a lot of time and energy making Google important to society.
Google's other major foray into Social Media, YouTube, is expected to lose $470 million dollars in 2009. But, it's not all bad news: Revenues are expected to increase by 20% YOY (Google will only lose 80% of what they could have). Not asking for government handouts as of yet, YouTube's major challenge is no different from that of Twitter and other Social Media sites: Monetization. In the short-term, Google has signed a deal with Disney-ABC Television Group and ESPN to provide "professional" content, driving advertiser demand "through standardization of ad formats and improved ad effectiveness." Or, to restate it clearly, YouTube will provide better videos to reel in bigger advertisers. It remains to be seen if having Disney on YouTube will provide the revenue needed for YouTube, but the main question is how the users will react to the site "incorporation."