In the latest effort to turn a stream of tweets into a stream of revenue, Twitter is in talks with both Google and Microsoft to grant access to all the short messages users post to the service.
The company is already making some coin by making the stream available to third-party developers who built applications that work with Twitter, but those small companies pay small fees measured in the thousands of dollars.
Google and Microsoft are interested in the data for their search businesses, where it could be useful for monitoring everything from real-time interest trends to recommending results based on what links people are posting in relation to certain keywords or phrases.
I could also help with natural (or unnatural, if you have a tendency to spell "to" as "2" or use a lot of emoticons) language processing and "semantic" search that goes beyond simple text matching.
However, the folks at Twitter have more pressing things to attend to -- after a good streak of reliability for the once shaky service, an outage earlier today frustrated plenty of users.
Jackson West wonders why Microsoft and Google even bothered to ask -- it's not like that data isn't already public.