Google in Twitter takeover talks
Washington - US internet giant Google is in negotiations to acquire micro-blogging sensation Twitter for over $250m, technology blog TechCrunch reported on Friday.
Citing two sources familiar with the matter, TechCrunch said Google would be making an offer below the $500m Facebook proposed to Twitter a few months ago, and would pay in cash or publicly valued stock.
"Why would Google want Twitter? We've been arguing for some time that Twitter's real value is in search," said the blog's Michael Harrington.
"It holds the keys to the best real time database and search engine on the internet, and Google doesn't even have a horse in the game."
But a third source told TechCrunch, which is a partner of the Washington Post's website, that the acquisition discussions were still at an early stage and both companies were mulling working together on a Google real time search engine.
Twitter, which allows users to pepper one another with messages of 140 characters or less, has seen a dizzying surge in popularity since it was launched in August 2006, but has been unable so far to generate revenue.
But Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said last week that he expected finding ways to pump cash in the fast-growing free service, including possibly charging fees for commercial accounts used by businesses.
Stone said that Twitter remains focused on growth. The California-based company claims to have more than six million users and a "phenomenal growth rate" of 900% in the past year.
Harrington noted that if the deal goes through, it would be the second sale by Twitter's founders to Google. Five years ago, the micro-blogging site had sold the blog-making website "Blogger" to the search engine.