Overheard on Twitter: “I use Google and look things up that I hear about on Facebook.”
It’s a simple enough statement and one most people who use both services can relate to. But for Facebook, it could mean the difference between becoming another MySpace and justifying the anticipated $100 billion valuation it is expected to have following next month’s initial public offering of its share. The problem is, Facebook, like Microsoft’s Bing, is going to find itself in a seemingly never-ending game of catch-up with Google.
“Search is the answer [for Facebook], but it’s not a loud enough question,” said Simon Schnieders, co-founder of the local search engine company Explore To.
As noted on the advertising trade journal Adotas, paid search has continued its decade-long rise. Google still controls 66% of that market in the U.S. Its next closest competitor, Bing, has 15%.
“If Facebook wants revenue, then they need search and it needs to be as good as Google’s experience, which means immense engineering investment, high-scale crawling ability and lessons learned from historical web spam, search semantics and manual monitoring, to name but a few,” Schnieders said. “The speed of the ‘like’ button on third-party sites suggests Facebook may have problems with scale like this.”