Long has been Google’s dominance as the reigning company upon the ‘series of tubes’ more fondly known as the internet.
With the term ‘Google’ being synonymous with search and long ago established as a verb for the process itself, the company’s stock price now sits at a healthy $635.15 USD.
Simply put, as we all well know; Google is the Alpha Dog.
That’s not to say, however, that the big G is without its competitors. Although ‘Googling’ is now a common part of everyday life for almost anybody in civilised society, the rise of Facebook poses a clear threat to its digital throne.
Imagine then how Googs must be shaking in knowledge that Zuckerberg’s geek-child is soon to make its inaugural move as a major search solution.
Ahead of their IPO – scheduled for May – Facebook has set up a division of around 20-25 engineers spearheaded by none other than Lars Rasmussen; a former Google engineer. The group is rumoured to be working on this large search project.
A photo uploaded by Zuckerberg to his Facebook profile on Feb 1st shows, on his macbook in the background, a modified interface that web pundits speculate to be the first glimpse we’ll have at Facebook’s search solution.
The rumours have existed long before this photo, however. Years in fact. And if the rumours have been floating around calmly for years we can only imagine how long Google must’ve had its own insider knowledge.
It’s almost a certainty. After all, take a look at Google Plus and how the social service has been integrated somewhat crudely into the giant’s algorithm.
Whatever the results (pun intended), their intentions were clear. Social search is serious business.
Facebook’s advantages in this space are obvious. Although their current search functionality is comical at best (and depression-inducing at worst), Facebook has the wealth of social data necessary to offer a more ‘organic’ search experience; results conceived from personal likes, interests, check-ins, links and so on, as well as that of a user’s friends.
Aside from the obvious social benefits in regards to search accuracy, this may also shift focus in terms of digital marketing strategy.
We can expect Facebook to place importance upon itself in its search results, as Google has done with its various properties (Blogger, Youtube, Images, etc). This means we may well see a renewed focus on Facebook pages as an entry point, in opposition to a company’s main website or various microsites.
Whatever the mechanics, Facebook now has the opportunity to make a significant shift in terms of search and, in turn, how the internet is currently navigated and experienced as a whole.
All in all, Facebook appears to be the first serious contender to be able to loosen Google’s grasp on search (sit down, Bing). The upcoming months may well be the prologue to a new leader’s rule.
So, can Facebook do it? Do you think Zuckerberg will be able to take the crown from Google? Do you see yourself using Facebook as your primary search engine in the near future?
Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!