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Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 02/10/2011

If Twitter's worth $10 billion, will Google and Facebook come a-courting?

By Melissa Bell
twitter 10 billion

News broke Wednesday night that Twitter has been in some "low-level talks" with Google and Facebook about a possible acquisition deal. The news sent hearts a-flutter. Could there be a possible marriage between two of the three most watched and most obsessed about Web sites? Just in time for Valentine's Day, is there a wooing afoot in Silicon Valley?

A resurgence in Internet investments has seen a circling of sorts over the possible purchase of Twitter, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night, and some potential buyers have placed a price tag on the social media site of $8 billion to $10 billion. According to the article, both Facebook and Google had spoken to Twitter. The talks have so far gone nowhere, but that doesn't stop our salacious minds from picturing a Facebook/Google/Twitter love child. Particularly now, as Facebook and Google are locked in a battle for the public's hearts and clicks, winning Twitter could be a coup worth fighting for.

So, what would a Google-Twitter baby look like? Or a Facebook-Twitter child?

Well, first of all, there's the name issue: Would it be Goowit? Twoogle? Twitbook? Facetwit?

Then, the personality. Let's take Google first. Twitter just introduced advertising to its site, and the jury is still out on how much Twitter users actually interact with the promoted tweets and trends. Though its valuation is in the billions, its 2010 revenue was only $45 million. It needs a much better rate of eyeballs on advertising to increase its advertising worth.

Google, meanwhile, is a master advertiser. Its mobile advertising on Androids is expected to take in more than $1 billion in 2012.

Although Twitter has done a great job of getting people on site to tweet, it's not our tweets that matter. It's our eyes they want. Our eyes directed at all the hopeful advertising promoted trends and tweets that will bring in the almighty advertising dollar. So, Twoogle would be much more advertising-savvy, using search results and word recognition to suggest the right kind of marketing for every tweet. Type that you're eating Canadian bacon for breakfast and a tweet will suddenly appear offering you the most delicious Canadian bacon this side of Niagara Falls.

That might be helpful for Canadian bacon fans, but Google has been struggling against spambots. Twitter already has its fair share of spam, so Twoogle could be a cesspool of marketing trolls.

As for Facetwit's personality, well, the site has excelled at slowly eating up the competition around the Web, keeping its users more and more behind the garden walls of Facebook.

E-mail usage has dropped 59 percent in young users. Why? They're spending all their time on social media sites like Facebook. Facebook accounts for 10 percent of page views in the U.S.

Facebook already launched a redesigned News Feed to look more like Twitter, so Facetwit would really just be Facebook putting Twitter behind its members-only doors. That might not be such a big deal on the surface: You sign into Twitter, so what if you have to start signing in on Facebook instead? Well, as ReadWriteWeb puts it, Facebook is a bit heavier-handed with the free user experience. It's got all sorts of complicated controls, privacy settings and recommendations. The freewheeling days of Twitter's youth would be gone at Facetwit.

It's all purely speculative right now, but it puts into perspective the relative strengths and weaknesses of the top triptych of Web sites. What else would be different about each one? Would you want one of these mergers to take place?

Which merged site would you rather see?

By Melissa Bell  | February 10, 2011; 11:39 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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