Google boss doesn't get Twitter

Google's Eric Schmidt has described Twitter as 'a poor man's e-mail system'. So he won't be buying it?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The Google boss made the remark while addressing the Morgan Stanley Technology conference in San Francisco. Of course, it's not unusual to see tech companies taking a public pop at other platforms (think Microsoft v Apple, or Google v Yahoo). But when you see a chief exec attacking a newer technology, they always seem at risk of sounding like an out-of-touch old fuddy-duddy. Think of all the myopic technophobes who must have written Google off originally as ‘a poor man's library'.

The difference is that as technology progresses the appeal of each new platform, for users and investors alike, seems increasingly slight. Twitter is no different, and has proven as divisive as any other social networking tool. While many leapt into using it religiously, and the papers began playing up celebs' inane Twitter habits, the vast majority still see a tool based on posting the world 140-character messages about what you're doing or thinking right now as a total waste of time.

Even so, there have been rumours that Google was considering buying the platform because its real-time search facility, which allows you to know what's being said about a subject at a particular time, may be a threat to Google's search dominance. Schmidt's comments seem to have put paid to that Twitter chatter. Unless he was trying the old double-bluff, which would mean Google's bosses splashing $1bn on the technology, and only then scratching their heads going ‘how do we make money with this?'

Schmidt also warned that Google was not ‘immune' to the current economic problems, which he said won't ease until 2010. Indeed, things may have appeared tough at Google towers recently when the company began paying staff bonuses in the form of a new Android phone. Of course, it has now emerged that Google had paid four top executives bonuses of $1.2m for 2008. You don't need to sign up to a Twitter feed to imagine what they're thinking right now... 

In today's bulletin:
Bank cuts rates again - and starts getting radical
EU backs forced retirement at 65
Google boss doesn't get Twitter
FDs have fewer beans to count
Masterclass: The customer experience 

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