Google eyeing Twitter purchase?

Reports are circulating that Google is currently negotiating the purchase of micro-blogging site Twitter.

Talks between the two companies are in the late stages, according to a report by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch

“Here’s a heck of a rumor that we’ve sourced from two separate people close to the negotiations: Google is in late stage negotiations to acquire Twitter,” Arrington wrote in his blog.

“We don’t know the price but can assume its well, well north of the $250 million valuation that they saw in their recent funding,” he added.

However, Google was quick to douse speculations.

“We, don’t comment on rumour or speculation,” Rachel Nearberg, a Google representative, told ITWorld Canada.

In a very short span of time Twitter has enjoyed great popularity among both consumer and business users. The micro-blogging site enables people to quickly post brief updates online about their thoughts and activities.

Despite this, at least two Canadian social network analysts said making an offer for Twitter would be a smart move for Google.

“Google has not exactly set the world on fire with any social media tool of its own whereas Twitter is the hottest thing going,” said Carmi Levy, independent technology analyst based in London, Ont.

For instance, Google’s social networking site Orkut, has not been as popular as its hugely successful counterpart Facebook. Celebrities, politicians, opinion makers and even mainstream news outlets, on the other hand, flocking to Twitter, Levy said.

Acquiring Twitter, would allow the search engine giant to close its social network gap, he said.

While Google may rule the worldwide online search market, it lags behind Twitter in providing users with real-time events update, said Levy. “When a quake hit San Francisco last week or when that pilot made that heroic crash landing on the Hudson River, people knew about first from Twitter, two minutes after it happened.”

Leveraging Twitter’s assets could be a windfall for Google, according to Tim Richardson, professor of e-commerce and international business at the Seneca College and University of Toronto.

“With all eyes on Twitter, just imagine what Google can achieve if it can somehow stick AdSense somewhere in there,” he said.

For Twitter, a union with Google can bring much needed financial backing and additional business credibility, he said.

“At the moment, Twitter may be cool messaging tool, but the company has not come up with a model to monetize it,” Richardson said.

A merger would open up business opportunities for Twitter just as Google’s and Microsoft’s purchase of Facebook and Google’s acquisition of YouTube did for the social networking site and video sharing site in the recent past, he said.

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Meanwhile Google sprinkled a few extra features on YouTube Thursday night, in a spring cleaning effort to catch up with the ever-popular Twitter. Viewers can now post a video they like on Twitter and users got a few tweaks when managing their content.

Everybody is integrating Twitter functionality these days, as the microblogging platform gains more user traction. The most prominent example is Facebook, which redesigned its whole news feed to accommodate the need for real-time updates. And now it’s YouTube’s turn, but with not so much glory.

The share links on YouTube now offer a Twitter posting option along Facebook and MySpace. Users can expand the box for more sharing options, but those three xare the ones YouTube promotes.

(With files from Daniel Ionescu)