The Internet was all a-Twitter yesterday about some comments that Google’s Eric Schmidt made about Twitter. The takeaway from some observers was that Schmidt slagged Twitter by calling it a kind of “poor man’s email.” Then today in an AdAge story, Todd Chaffee, a new Twitter venture funder, seems to be claiming ground over Google.
From what we’ve heard from Google folks, the company seems very much aware of Twitter and the potential it represents as a combination of real-time search engine and social discovery tool. So that could put Schmidt’s comments in a different context. I agree with my colleague Rob Hof, who twittered (appropriately) yesterday that Schmidt’s remarks seemed to come from the perspective of a computer scientist, one who logically wonders at this point whether services like Twitter will develop into a feature or a full-blown company.
When I spoke with Chaffee late last week, he was excited about Twitter’s potential in search and as a standalone company. He pointed out the difference in the type of search you have with Twitter, where you can tap into the wisdom of millions of people and also get real-time news. Google, by comparison, dishes up more historical and static information, he said.
But in his opinion, you could get real power in the two working together somehow, though he didn’t know if they’ve discussed anything like that. “What would be best for everyone, Twitter, Google and the planet, is if Twitter was the real-time feed to Google. That would be the smartest thing to do, to have a partnership like that.”