the latest from 2am Media

16 Feb

The Challenge of Facebook to Google if Facebook expands into search


Google has dominated the search market for quite some time, and no matter what their competitors have tried to do (Microsoft have launched 3 search services in the time Google has been going: MSN Search, Live and Bing) it doesn’t look like they will be able to take much more market share off the search giant.

The real competition in my view comes from Facebook.

“Facebook? But Facebook is a social media site” I hear you cry, but think again. Facebook has been developing it’s own search algorithms for years to helps users for content on throughout the mammoth that is the Facebook social network. What’s more Facebook has joined forces with Bing to provide internet searches- so it’s got both bases covered.

That being said people use Google to search for things and Facebook to connect with people don’t they? Well yes and no. As Facebook has expanded out into the products and services market with the inclusion of company pages people are finding less and less reason to leave the Facebook environment. With a 13% of the world’s population already signed up to Facebook there is an existing target audience of engaged users that Facebook can use as guinea pigs and ultimately brand advocates.

Facebook’s Mobile Share

I read a stat somewhere the other day that said more mobile time is spent on Facebook than it is on any other site, with about 150 million users accessing Facebook through a phone. When you think about this in terms of growth of the mobile market as well, it’s obvious that there is loads of scope for Facebook to carve up a bit of the market.

Google’s Top Engineers Migrate to Facebook

Towards the end of 2010 quite a few of Google’s leading engineers made the move to Facebook, which could be seen as individuals within Google reacting to the rise of Google’s competitor in the market. That was so much of a threat that in November 2010 Google announced that their engineers would be getting at least a 10% pay rise – some of their senior staff got a 30% pay rise.

The Race for the Unified Platform

This has been going on for a while, Google is clearly winning in this space, and it has more types of user orientated platforms and services however Facebook’s launch of Facebook mail was a definite message on intent from Facebook

Facebook: The Future of Search?

The other thing that must worry Google is that is Facebook does decide to go down the route of becoming a search provider they will have the data of the interactions and movements of 500 million human users creating a much more organic search market rather than Google robo-algorithm driven search engine.

If Facebook did ever create the human orientated search platform Google would instantaneously have a new and different competitor, one that uses a different model on which to market itself, in the way Google did in the early days when focusing their message on the benefits of using PageRank.

If Facebook did expand further into the search market Google would have to have a very good argument for why it’s best to use their algorithm and as oppose to a more humanistic search route.

Google king of content

For the time being Google is still the dominant force online. Personally I would love to see an alliance between Google and Facebook, but that wouldn’t suit either party (Facebook will no doubt be conscious of the permanent decline of Yahoo after they joined forces with Google).

For the time being the Internet is still very much a content orientated affair, which plays to Google’s strengths, however this is changing rapidly with the different ways of understanding user behaviour and user-centric ranking signals.

From Search Strategies to Finding Strategies

In the modern era of Internet marketing we are very much moving away from simple search marketing strategies to more in depth, proactive and user engaging finding strategies geared towards helping social users find content and engage with it.

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