New frontier: what’s going on NOW?

Only one post ago (how time flies) I uttered a mea culpa on having dissed Twitter, when it can be such an elegant medium. I guess that any web-channel that provides me with something worthwhile I would undoubtedly have missed otherwise must at least be a little ‘ok’ . Then, today, through Twitter I ended up on an article that I found interesting as well. A story in which Twitter is a player itself.

What’s going on NOW?
I guess it’s safe to assume that most of you out there are aware of the fact that Google would really like to buy Twitter (just as Microsoft… Twitter however, says it has no intention of selling). Since Google wants to become the one and only portal for everyone through which they can find everything (their determination to do this is apparent if you look at the enormous amounts of money they throw down the Youtube pit annually), they must work on the things they are not good at. And that is: Google is not good at finding out what is going on right now. Suddenly hear a lot sirens and want to know what’s going on? You won’t find out by using Google. You’re better off by checking Twitter to see if there are tweets about it. The San Francisco FD uses Twitter since they regularly find out quicker that way if there’s a fire somewhere than by 911 calls. Twitter is good at now (I will not go into the discussion of what the value of now is right now. I will do that later perhaps).

Google correspondent
google-reader-iphone_thumbWho else is good at now? I guess that would be the news media. Radio, television and newspapers. Want to know what is going on now? You can check their websites and quite often you’ll find that there’s a ‘breaking news’ section somewhere. Real on the ground correspondents bringing you breaking news, which can then be fed into the Google newsreader, if it makes the AP threshold.

Schmidt at the NAA
At the annual Newspaper Association of America (NAA) meeting, Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) said that news organisations are in need of a new business model and that Google would be a big part of that new model. Schmidt asked: “why doesn’t the paper know, what articles a visitor has read yesterday?’ Schmidt feels that it’s important that online newspapers learn how to make money off their articles, without necessarily dragging newsreaders like Google news or Techmeme into court for impeding their publishing rights. Newspaper big-shots like Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thompson (Wall Street Journal chief editor) disagreed and were clearly annoyed by the fact that Google is raking in millions in advertising revenue by doing nothing but link to ‘their’ news articles. Perhaps if Google would find a way to become better at bringing you the news of what’s going on right now, there would be less need for them to make money off linking to the work of others?

The fight
I guess the fight is on. Google has always been the darling of the ‘independent’ news media as it was the contender against the almighty Microsoft. But now Google is taking them on as well, not by creating content, but by making money off directing you to it. Google might increasingly be portrayed as being evil after all.  Maybe Murdoch’s Newscorp would be a good potential buyer for Twitter?


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