All the talk about how Google ‘must’ buy Twitter just does not make sense to me, at least not for the reasons that are being discussed. Twitter is a fine business and may mint money some day, and that alone may be a reason to buy it. However, Twitter will not solve Google’s so called ‘social problem’.
(1) Google’s ‘social problem’ was created by Facebook, but Twitter does not help Google compete with Facebook. The social graph created by Facebook is completely different than the social graph created by Twitter. The reasons people use these two applications are completely different and the types and amount of information shared is not comparable
(2) Google cannot be a social brand. I entered a relationship with Google long ago with an expectation that they would provide me with search results and email. The relationship I entered into with Facebook was based on me sharing information with others. These are two very different relationships and I don’t want Google changing the nature of our relationship, especially when they use the data I shared when I was operating under our ‘search and email only’ relationship. This is the fundamental challenge for Google. Our relationship with them is not a social one
(3) User’s do not want to mix search and social. Many of the searches we do are private in nature. We ask Google the most private and embarrassing questions we have. A social aspect to Google removes the (real or perceived) privacy users feel when they share this information with Google. Based on this, you could also argue that Facebook will never be the primary search destination for users
In my opinion, if Google wants to be successful in social they need to make a clean break with their existing services (specifically search and email). Create a new brand that uses all the powerful Google technology and brains, but is not based on an integration with existing Google tools and data…which are based on my current Google relationship. Establish a new relationship with me and then let me decide if and how I want to bring my old Google relationship into the mix.