I have seen a couple times in the last days links to an article indicating Twitter could be a threat to Google; I don’t want to delve in the feasibility or not of the argument; but it did remind me of a conversation I had with Marc Smith about 6 or 7 years ago about the space and the potential opportunities for our then employer Microsoft.
We played with the analogy of farmers that don’t own the land but work it to produce wheat, of land owners that lease to those farmers and receive a share of the fruits of the farmer labor in exchange for the land usage and of mill owners that grind the wheat to produce the flower which in turn will be the basis for Baker confections ranging from basic and necessary to amazing and extravagant.
In the same way we have all of us creating content and associated metadata using amazing tools that are available today in the Internet, Twitter among those. We have the owners of those tools (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc.) receiving their fair share of the fruits of our labor; then we have the companies capable to process data and content (Google, Microsoft) and turn it into something that can be aggregated, manipulated and transformed; and last we have companies that can turn the product of that data and content processing and turn it into something actionable and valuable on their own (which in turn can generate more user engagement and thus content plus associated metadata).
My point with all of the above: I see Twitter as a very valuable data source for Google, not a competitor; each playing on their own turf and adding their own portion of value to the chain.
Just my $0.02.
What do you think?