What is Twitter? “A microblogging service” doesn’t quite fit right. Maybe because that just doesn’t sound as cool as Twitter.

A growing number of people are suggesting that Twitter is a search engine. As I was going through my feeds today, I came across several posts discussing just that. This is officially a meme.

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch saysIt’s Time To Start Thinking Of Twitter As A Search Engine“. And BusinessWeek asks if Twitter could be “a search ad gusher?

There’s been increasing talk of late that Twitter could even be a competitor to Google. Some have suggested Google will eventually buy Twitter for that very reason. Perhaps the comment by Google CEO Eric Schmidt that Twitter is a poor man’s email is some sort of negotiating tactic (sarcasm).

Whatever the case I find the suggestion that Twitter could be a search engine fascinating. There’s no doubt there’s a lot of information on Twitter. And it is available quickly (realtime).

But that said I’ve never used Twitter as a search engine per se. Maybe I’m in the minority. I still go to Google when I am looking for something.

In some sense I think the recent discussions about Twitter as a search engine might be about us wanting it to be a search engine.

Why? I don’t think it’s lost on everyone that Twitter isn’t yet making money. And I think that concerns some people, at least subconsciously. No matter what you think about Twitter it’s impossible to deny that a lot of people love it. It would be a shame to see Twitter never find a business model that could ensure its future.

It seems like everyone has ideas for how Twitter could make money but Twitter is doing its own thing, at its own pace. Is it possible that there’s a desire for Twitter to be a search engine because the number one search engine (Google) is a cash cow? Freudian logic, but something I felt was worth throwing out there.

Personally I see Twitter as a cool communications tool. Some see it as a social network. Others see it as a search engine. Perhaps Twitter is one of those services that can be anything to anyone. If that’s the case, it doesn’t make any sense trying to classify it.

Twitter is what it is. Calling it a search engine doesn’t make it one. Not calling it a search engine doesn’t mean it isn’t one.