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Adrian Weckler: If Google buys Twitter, what happens next?


Stashed in: Google Acquisitions, Twitter!, @sundarpichai, Awesome

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Clearly, what happens next is that I delete my Twitter account.  I'm not going to get roped into another Google service, any which way.

Is Google the answer?

In the short term, it looks like a great fit for Twitter and a reasonable one for Google.

Twitter gets a huge new funding well and some of the world's best engineers and advertising specialists. It's a terrific shot at a stable future.

On the other hand, Google gets another chance to stick its oar into the world of social networking, meaning deeper data to try and exploit. After the poor performance of Google Plus, this might be tempting. And Twitter might be considered cheap at an expected takeover price of around €17bn. LinkedIn, which was suffering similar challenges with growth and monetisation, sold for €23bn (to Microsoft) a few months ago. Whatsapp sold for almost €20bn (to Facebook) a couple of years ago. The sale of those companies - especially Linkedin - makes Twitter more attractive as it is arguably the only social network of significant scale available. (Snapchat is still reaching for the moon and shows no sign of selling up yet.) Lastly, Google might like some of the things that Twitter is experimenting with, such as live-streaming sports events like Wimbledon and NFL football games.

But there are downsides to both companies too.

Twitter will be aware that Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergei Brin, have never really been natives at social media. Even though Google is now run by chief executive Sundar Pichai - who might be more attuned to it - the two founders may not be natural stewards of such a trigger-happy, controversial forum as Twitter.

For Google, the hurdles might be more immediate. It would be taking over a company that is regularly at the forefront of controversy because of its basic service: free speech online. This brings with it all sorts of issues around abuse, censorship and political involvement. These are not things Google's owners would relish.

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