Google's strategy - stock pile cash, misunderstand Twitter

Google plans to let its cash 'pile up' as it weathers an economic recession but doesn't expect to see a fall in revenue, CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday, reported by Reuters.

Google will only use its $8.6 billion cash cushion for 'very very conservative investments,' Schmidt reportedly said, and is unlikely to start a dividend in the current environment. It remains to be seen if one of them will be Twitter.

Schmidt's comments came a day after he got a lot of industry watchers hot under the collar at an technology conference by referring to Twitter as a 'poor man's email system.' He also was reported saying, 'We admire Twitter,' but didn't want to speculate on Google buying or selling companies.

It's strange that lots of Twitterers think Google's acquiring the service would be a good move because Google doesn't get what people like about Twitter - see below. Twitter isn't email in short or threadbare trousers, but an instant means of communicating with a lot of people all at once - a kind of instantaneous broadcasting, that has fostered an extraordinary sense of community.

A sad and dramatic example of this happened earlier this week when two British skiers became separated from their party in the Swiss resort of Verbier. Their attempted rescue became a global effort as a group of British technology entrepreneurs drafted in the Twitter community to help find them.

As The Guardian reports,  "Despite the concerted efforts of the online community and the mountain rescue teams, developments which were instantly relayed on Twitter, one of the skiers, co-founder of Dolphin Music Rob Williams died in the incident."

But if that's not about community and instant, mass communication, it's hard to say what it. Google had at least three chances to dominate this market, but didn't get the point.

In 2007 Google bought Jaiku, the micro-blogging company, then closed it to new users.

Before that, in 2006, it bought JotSpot, a start-up that built a wiki collaboration tool for office workers, which it relaunched, much changed, 16 months later as, Google Sites. It didn't set the world on fire and infuriated JotSpot fans.

Before that, in 2005, it bought Dodgeball, a start-up designed to let friends and colleagues know where they were by text and to be kept informed about the whereabouts of their friends.