Last October, Google acquired Twitter competitor Jaiku. Yet to this day I hear ten mentions of Twitter for every one mention of Jaiku, and every day that goes by that Google doesn't acquire Twitter is another day Facebook could. The same goes for FriendFeed.
These are two remarkably popular and useful services, both of which could be so easily monetised with Google ads and both of which fall under Google's mission of organising the world's information. FriendFeed instantly aggregates many Google services, including YouTube, Jaiku and Google Reader; and Twitter, let's be honest, helps organise the world's thoughts and actions.
Twitter (Alexa ranking of 964*) is getting more popular by the week, and could be an even more serious threat to Jaiku (Alexa ranking of 78,203* in closed beta) than it is already -- a threat easily avoided with a simple cheque from Page and Brin.
But I mentioned another factor at play: Facebook, and by extension Microsoft. The 'book could snap up either service in a heartbeat, and proved it was in a position to acquire other companies when it gobbled Parakey last July.
Remember that Microsoft owns just under two per cent of Facebook, and provides ad solutions to the social network both in the US and abroad. It also sorely wants to take down Google's dominance in the online ad space (and search, mapping, online document editing, email and mapping of the universe spaces).
Should Facebook or Microsoft acquire the page impressions and users of Twitter and FriendFeed, Google would be justified in wondering if it missed the boat, despite the fact that Twitter and Jaiku would both initially provide similar services under one roof.
If in six months Google hasn't snapped up Twitter or at least FriendFeed, it'll be a Web 2.0 mistake it may live to regret.
*As of 29 September 2008.