Web search giant Google may be planning to buy microblogging site Twitter, according to TechCrunch. The tech news Web site, citing unnamed "people close to the negotiations," says that if Twitter bites, it would get cash and/or publicly valued stock from Google. Just five months ago, the increasingly popular Twitter turned down a $500 million offer from Facebook that was reportedly chock full of that company's stock.

The treasure Google seeks is Twitter's large database of information, which expands daily in real-time as so-called tweeters fill their personal feeds with snippets of current events and observations (140 characters max at a time). Twitter also has a very effective search engine for mining this database, which would give Google plenty more Web pages to sell to advertisers, TechCrunch notes.

PC World, which floated this possibility in February (albeit without TechCrunch's anonymous sources), pointed out that Twitter is dealing from a position of strength, attracting nearly 2.7 million U.S. visitors  in December alone and in February raising an additional $35 million in funding from venture capitalists, including Institutional Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital (both based in Menlo Park, Calif.).

Google, one of the companies that helped launch the Web 2.0 movement to carve cyber communities out of cyberspace, has snatched up other Web 2.0 firms, most notably buying YouTube in October 2006 for $1.65 billion. And this wouldn't be the first time Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone would be cutting a deal with Google—they sold their Blogger site (for helping people publish their own blogs) to the search engine giant in February 2003 for an amount never disclosed publicly.

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