Why i think facebook will (seriously) dent google (video)

It’s always great to see industries change over the years with new companies coming from the bottom to become segment leaders. In the history of time, it has always been like that if you think about it. From steam-powered boats to combustion engine in the 18/19th century, from single broadcast channel to multichannel tv, remote control, VCR to DVD, mainframes to PC,  mp3 devices to ipod, yahoo directory to google search, mobile phones to iphones, and now — facebook. (note, i’ve skipped many cool changes, but you get the message)

At first, facebook was very unpredictable i think, and that’s always the best one to replace the current leader — the “guy with the t-shirt symptom” (i.e. smart, but no fancy tie). Facebook started off as a social website, really the closest thing to a free “dating-arena” at the time, growing traffic,  users. well. interesting. There were many other good social sites, hell, even Google has (had) one called Orkut. what was so special? unclear i think at the time.

So with more users, and traffic, some innovations were introduced. some apps, mobile, better messaging, and as time passed by more and more meaningful industries started to feel facebook’s breath at the back of their neck. Why pay for text messaging when you can mobile-facebook a friend (as a reminder, over a billion text messages are sent a day), why install chatting app on your computer when you can chat on facebook with most of the people you know that are already there, and many other “breathing-incidents”

Then facebook became more prominent (~2006), and was offered to get bought for abillion by yahoo. That was interesting. At the time facebook probably didn’t even generate enough revenue to justify that, so it was mainly “leap of faith” of the potential buyer. It never happened.

Then came the brilliant Microsoft move. interestingly enough, facebook went and raised capital at high valuation (~15B). that was also all over the news — is it too high, can someone justify that, maybe less, maybe more, what’s their plan. “yada yada”. Microsoft realized it doesn’t really matter, as there won’t be any liquidation event in the short term to think “multipliers”, and better to gain access into this social-titanic while blocking competition. brilliant (at least in my mind). microsoft threw cash at them to mainly gain two things: (1) let us and not our competitors advertise on facebook.com (2) and oh … we know it’s not big today .. but when people search on facebook, we’d like it to be something we’re working on called … Bing. i actually found out many people didn’t notice the Bing logo on facebook. i encourage you to go and search now on facebook for the company you work at, you’ll see that at the bottom of the page, Bing are the ones returning results from the web. while that was way back, just last April facbeook was one of the top search engines on the web. hit number one for Google — if people search on the place they spend most of their time, it’s seriously hindering their bread & butter.

And then came the last f8 conference (for those who don’t know, facebook annual conference). Facebook introduces to publishers around the world their new tools. Publishers can now get stuff they see on facebook to be on their site, to make the world a more personalized world (working at taboola, we know a lot about personalization, we thought it’s really interesting). Mainly you could get the “chat” widget, “like” button”, and “social recommendations” to content on your site. Why is it another big one for google? simple. Google main business relies on the fact that pages are connected to other pages through HTML links. Based on that, google can search the web, and rank pages to decide if you should be 1st, 2nd or last on their search results. Facebook is leading a world (not sure they’ll succeed, but’s definitely a big one) whereas pages being linked to other pages is ‘old school’, nice but not enough, working but not best, dateable but not marriage material, well, you get the message.

If facebook can transform the web from “pages linking pages” to “people linking pages” google can be seriously dented.

P.s: interesting piece of info, when google launched their “search for publishers” back in march 2000, they gained 13k publishers to take it within a month and a half. Facebook seems to hit 50k within similar period of time.

May the best man wins.

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