Hands up who thinks Twitter is a bit of a waste of time.

Those who think that the micro-blogging site is nothing to write home about will be glad to know that Google CEO Eric Schmidt feels the same way.

He told the crowd at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference in San Francisco Tuesday that Twitter is a "poor man's e-mail system."

It became even clearer that Schmidt had not spent much time thinking about Twitter when he managed to get the number of characters you are allowed in each update wrong (he said 160 not 140).

That should put paid to talk that Google is considering buying Twitter because its potential for real-time search (you can get a sense of what is being said about a particular topic instantly with Twitter search) might just pose a threat to Google's dominance in traditional web search.

Schmidt spent much more time talking about how gloomy the economic prospects were. No economic recovery until 2010, he said. Google was not "immune," he ventured.

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