Twitter has historically tried to distance itself from the "social network" label. It hasn't worked. People still think of Twitter as a social network. That's not all that Twitter is considered, but if Twitter is not a social network, what is? Facebook? Google+? They're all getting more and more like each other. Interestingly enough, Facebook has tried to distance itself from the social network label in the past as well. Google has considered Google+ to be a "social layer".
Anyway, at the DLD Conference in Munich today, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is quoted as saying that he doesn't view Twitter as particularly social. Liz Gannes at All Things D reports that Dorsey considers the three most important words to describe Twitter to be: public, real-time and simplicity. Not social. Gannes quotes him:
“We definitely see social as just one part of what people do on Twitter,” Dorsey said. “We think of it as an information utility and a communications network.”
The point about simplicity is one that Twitter has made over and over again as well. Yet, Twitter keeps adding features, opting to become the platform for certain functionalities previously provided by popular third-party services.
It has become clear that Google and Twitter are becoming greater competitors in the realm of real-time information too. Note how defensive Twitter became when Google started integrating its Google+ content into search results more heavily.
Google has said in the past that it will likely bring back realtime search, which it once relied on an agreement with Twitter for. Last year, the two companies failed to renew their agreement. When Google brings the feature back, it intends to do so with Google+ content. Google+ now has over 90 million users, so the potential to do this is on the rise with the service growing.