OK, I really don't think Twitter will be gone in a year, but I needed a flashy headline to attract some attention. So sue me.
However, I do think the Twitter clock is ticking....
I was having my morning cup of coffee this morning whilst reading the last several hours of my Twitter feed, when I saw one of my Twitter Friends comment on how they thought the Twitter acquisition of Summize might speed up a Google acquisition of Twitter.
While I think that this was an important feature for Twitter to add, I don't think Google is even remotely interested in Twitter. Lest we all forget, Google acquired Jaiku last year. The same Jaiku that was being lauded as a "Twitter Killer" when it was barely out of the gates. Since the acquisition, there's been very little-to-no news on what Google plans to do with the technology. But let's not kid ourselves here: Jaiku is an activity stream service just like Twitter, and it's hard to believe that they would use it for anything else. From the Jaiku/Google FAQ:
Q: Why did Google acquire Jaiku?
A: Activity streams and mobile presence are important areas where we believe Google can add a lot of value for users. Jaiku's technology and talented team are a great addition to Google's current application and mobile teams.
It's no secret that Twitter is battling infrastructure issues, and they are basically trying to repair a 747 while it's in the air. A lot people are bailing on Twitter and trying services like Friendster and Plurk, among others. But what all of these other services are missing is the simplicity of Twitter. There's either just too much "noise" or the interface is too cumbersome to use on a regular basis. The vast majority of people I know are just plugging away on Twitter, and hoping that they get their act together. The Summize acquisition is a step in the right direction, but is it enough?
I have a pretty lousy track record when it comes to my prognostication skills - just ask my bookie. But I think that within six months you will see Google relaunch the Jaiku service in some fashion. My odds are on:
- A simple activity stream
- Integration with a number Google applications & services (gmail, gtalk, gcal, maps...)
- Activity streams that can be shared among a group of users (Jaiku Channels)
- Archive capabilities that will allow users to search dialog streams from Day 1
So, once the Google bomb drops I think we will see a very viable alternative to Twitter. It will certainly be a more reliable and feature rich alternative. And while there will always be loyal Twitter users, Twitter as we know it now probably will be gone, as in acquired, within a year. They simply can't continue to burn money with zero revenue to show for it, regardless of how many users they sign on. Maybe Yahoo! can find a place for them in their left-hand navigation under OMG!