Dead Tree Biz Section Sees Twitter as a Threat to Google

February 26, 2009

I must admit I find dead tree news coverage increasingly stale. A case in point is the article in the San Jose Mercury News (hereinafter “Hose”), which I once loved for its Frye ads and its in depth coverage of high tech companies, published, “How Twitter Could Be a Threat to Google.” You can read the story here.

Now keep in mind that the Hose serves Silicon Valley, which is Twitter ground zero. Also, keep in mind that Twitter has been around since 2006, yep, going on three years. Twitter is also a micro blogging site; that is, a variant of SMS (long a European and Pacific Rim habit) allows a user to write a short comment. I mentioned one a couple of days ago about a Google pfishing vulnerability. I am not sure how many users and clicks generates, but it is the go-to service for real time search. and to a certain extent are in this game as well along with non US variants.

The idea is that when I  have a question or need a tip about layoffs, Twitter is the place for me to go for that information. If you haven’t tried it, the url is As I have noted, Google has been a non factor in this space. Furthermore, the Google that bought is no more. The company has invested more time in fiddling with its foundation than fixing the YAGGs that are increasingly common. A “YAGG”, if you have forgotten my coinage, is yet another Google glitch. The Hose said:

The emergence of real-time search also certainly says a lot about us, and how our increasingly wired society is becoming ever more hyperkinetic. In this world, compared with Twitter, Google suddenly begins to feel old and plodding. Its search results might be minutes, hours, or even days old. Yawn!

I agree. Yawn. If the GOOG is going to buy, the Mountain View folks need to do more than regale the New York Times’s writers with anecdotes about free time whilst omitting the 2X productivity the Google programming environment wrings from its engineers. So, 20 percent free time on an 80 hour output is what? Four Sixteen hours a week. With programming snippets in the restrooms and white boards in the laundry, I’m not sure how much free time translates to kick back and enjoy time at Google.

My take on Twitter is:

  • The GOOG knows about this space, but its bureaucracy has slowed its reflexes
  • The adults in charge such as the new CFO rains on the parade, adding another layer of cotton wool to the decision process
  • The surge in Twitter and Twitter functions cropping up in other applications has created a Microsoft-like “we have a better way” faction.

The reality is that Google has allowed Twitter to run free just as Microsoft and Yahoo allowed Google to run wild in its first decade.

In my opinion, what makes Silicon Valley so much fun is that supremely confident folks continue to make the same errors. The difference today is the financial environment requires a different blend of expertise. I don’t think telling those in Silicon Valley is going to meet my needs, and I live next to a mine run off pond in rural Kentucky. I also don’t think the write up is going to do much to address the decision making change at Google, which to me is the angle that needs more inspection. Honk.

Stephen Arnold, February 26, 2009


2 Responses to “Dead Tree Biz Section Sees Twitter as a Threat to Google”

  1. Rob Hof on February 26th, 2009 10:18 am

    Not that it necessarily changes your point, but 20% of 80 hours a week would be 16 hours, not 4.

  2. Stephen E. Arnold on February 26th, 2009 6:23 pm

    Rob Hof,

    Good catch. I will make the change. Appreciate the comment. I find myself flipping numbers and missing simple math as I age. Don’t get old.

    Stephen Arnold, February 26, 2009

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