Just because Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) isn't about to get hitched with Twitter doesn't mean that the two can't mess around a little.

"We do not have to buy everyone to work with them," Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters, as retold by England's Telegraph this morning. The comment came after the annual Google Zeitgeist powwow, as Schmidt conceded that Google has had conversations with Twitter's founders over a strategic relationship.

A partnership can take many different forms:

  • Google can use its AdSense program to monetize Twitter with online ads.
  • Twitter's real-time feeds can be indexed immediately on Google.
  • Google's search engine can be enhanced with Twitter's real-time search functionality.
  • Twitter can lean on Google's fleet of servers and techies.

These all sound like worthy reasons to form an alliance. Schmidt is right. You don't have to buy Twitter to profit from it. What he doesn't get -- or at least isn't telegraphing as such -- is that he may have little choice but to buy the cow if he wants the milk.

Does Google think that it's the only company that would be a perfect fit for Twitter? Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL, and even Ask.com parent IAC (NASDAQ:IACI) have even more to gain because they are smaller -- and hungrier -- portals.

Google thinks it can offer up a deal that is beneficial to both Twitter and Google, but what happens if Yahoo! steps up with a blank check on bended knee? What if Microsoft -- cash rich and dot-com poor -- wants to tweet?

Twitter is what even Google isn't these days: sexy, growing quickly, and a buzzword that is on everyone's lips. A lesser engine would gain some serious street cred with Twitter in its arsenal. It would also be killing two birds with a Biz Stone. It would make the buyer stronger, while keeping the hot micro-message texting platform out of the hands of Google.

Don't worry about Twitter's current lack of revenue. This is a race to see who lands the trophy wife first. If Google believes that it can just carve out choice cuts of Twitter, it is underestimating the hunger of its famished competitors. Even an online marketplace leader like eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) or a wireless titan like AT&T (NYSE:T) wouldn't mind snuggling up to Twitter.

Google thinks it can just move in with Twitter. I'm suggesting it look into buying an engagement ring, first.

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