Google execs admit Twitter's winning real-time game

CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Larry Page both addressed the 140-character elephant in the room at the Zeitgeist conference in London this week, according to the Guardian.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Google co-founder Larry Page and CEO Eric Schmidt have admitted that when it comes to the public's thirst for real-time, up-to-the-minute news and conversation, Twitter's beating them.

This was reported by the U.K.'s Guardian, as the two executives took the stage at Google's Zeitgeist conference in London.

"People really want to do stuff real time and I think they [Twitter] have done a great job about it," the Guardian quoted Page as saying. "I think we have done a relatively poor job of creating things that work on a per-second basis."

Google acquired one of Twitter's onetime competitors, Jaiku, in fall 2007. Back then, it was still early enough in Twitter's ascent that a competitor with a better product could've come from behind and beaten it--especially with Google's powerful backing. But earlier this year, amid company-wide cutbacks, Google halted most development on Jaiku.

After the Zeitgeist event, Schmidt was asked by the Guardian whether Google might just go ahead and buy Twitter.

"There is a presumption that somehow you cannot have multiple solutions that co-exist," Schmidt said. He then indicated that perhaps a partnership was more likely: "We do not have to buy everybody to work with them, the whole principle of the Web is people can talk to each other."

But don't expect Twitter to sign on as a big partner in Google's AdSense search ads service: Co-founder Biz Stone said earlier this week that the company does not plan to pursue an advertising-based revenue model.