What Marissa Mayer said about Google and Twitter


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There have been a couple of posts today speculating about what Eric Schmidt and his team said about Twitter at a company press event in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday. I have the verbatim text, which I thought might be helpful to post below for the record.

The precise question to Schmidt was about the evolution of Google’s thinking on what some people call micro-messaging.


‘Is this code for Twitter?’ Schmidt asked. ‘The term I’ve been using is micro-blogging.’

Yes, it was code for Twitter. From there, Schmidt bounced the question to search products chief Marissa Mayer, who explained that Google was interested in the possibilities for micro-messaging/micro-blogging, particularly from the search perspective. She said:

‘What’s really happening in Twitter is that there are a lot of clues in it in terms of what’s happening that’s interesting overall. It’s similar to what we see in Google Trends, where people will often type what they’re interested in into the search box, and we can make some predictions off of that.
So we are interested in being able to offer, for example, micro-blogging and micro-messaging in our search. Particularly in Blog Search and possibly in Web Search, but we don’t have any particular plans to announce.’

Not a lot surprising here. As you might expect for a search company, Google wants to find some way to mine and analyze the exploding volume of information being churned out by the micro-messaging world (read: Twitter). As Mayer suggests, figuring out what’s trending in real-time could have implications for how Google orders other kinds of search results, whether it’s in news, blog or Web search.

Nothing was said about Google creating a competitor to Twitter, nor was it implied.

Which is not to say Google’s isn’t planning such a thing. The company would be negligent if it wasn’t at least talking about how to beat Twitter. But its executives definitely aren’t talking about it to us.

-- David Sarno