Google aims to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Twitter’s defines itself as “An information network.” At a time when the buzz is about how Google+ will compete with Twitter, and the two are seeing astounding positive change, it’s time to take a step back. How do they compare today: it’s very different than when Twitter was in its terrible twos, c. July 2008. Most think the comparison was answered, piecemeal, ad nausea, fait et complet. Since both companies are fabulous resources for finding information, perhaps we should simply Google Twitter for information?
Not necessarily. Twitter, and other sites that allow people to share, aims to help us digest information, but it does so as a network: rather than organizing for us, it lets us organize amongst ourselves. Today we have far more ways to find information on the Internet than just SERPS (search engine result pages).
Most people think of Google’s search functions as the most common way people conduct start Internet research, and consider it the company’s be-all, end-all service. Forrester Research reported in February that 61% of all referrals to websites is from search engines and of this Google accounts for about 90%. According to research by Starcom MediaVest Group and and Rubinson Partners for sharethis.com, released in early June, 30 percent of all referrals to websites are from shared links. Of the 30%, Twitter is responsible for 11% of all “shares.” Other pieces of the pie come, for example, from blogs, bookmarking sites, and other social networks. Five years from now our first thought for researching this topic could be to “Twitter Google!”
What many people miss is why Google users turn to its search engine when they are ready to reach out for information. Google’s complementary products drive people to google.com when they are ready to move to the Internet to find information. Many of them are collaborative—GMAIL— as social networks are. Looking at your website stats on analytics.google.com and have an idea that you want to gather information about? Not finding what you want from AdWords on google.com? We are immersed in one Google product and the quickest, most engrained way we move on is to move over to another, search on Google.com. Search is just a slice of where the company is today and where it is headed. Google organizes information via maps, blogs (Blogger), it’s Android platform, and yes, it is now recognized as a full-throttle threat to social media websites like Twitter as more people give Google+ a thumbs up.
Google’s recent quarterly profit and revenue report last week gave the company a huge $70 increase in their stock price. If the debt crisis is averted this valuation is likely to stick, or increase. It’s valuation is at $192 billion today. We also had big news yesterday that Twitter’s valuation as a private company doubled since January to $8 billion after a new $800 million funding deal. By size, comparing Twitter and Google is a bit like comparing a privately owned Mom and Pop restaurant in Center City to the all the Starbuck stores in Philadelphia.