Andreas Pouros
Andreas Pouros

Can Facebook topple Google with search?

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear he has every intention of giving Google a run for its money by marrying Facebook’s social networking with one of the most valuable areas of the technology industry: Search. At a tech industry conference this week, Zuckerberg told the audience the Search market represents a “big opportunity“ that Facebook is uniquely positioned to address. But can Facebook succeed in unseating the search giant Google by leaning on its ’social’ edge? Andreas Pouros, COO at leading independent digital marketing agency, weighs up its chances.

Our global survey “Search & Social Survey (2011-2012)”, which we undertook earlier this year showed its own search engine tomorrow, making it the second most utilised search engine in every major market.

What’s few years. However, the survey also indicated Google+ has been more successful than most may have and centre in ‘Social Search’.

Greenlight’s survey revealed 5% would ‘definitely’ use a future Facebook search engine if the firm were to launch one to rival Google’s. The other extreme, those categorically saying they simply would not use a future Facebook search engine, totalled 26% of all respondents. Those
and ‘Probably not’, totalled 48 per cent.

These stats therefore suggest Facebook could capture around 22% of the global Search market by simply launching its own search engine tomorrow morning (the ‘Definitely’, ‘Probably’, and half of the ‘Don’t know’ respondents combined).It wouldn’t need to be a spectacular engine either, just Greenlight’s of 50% within a few years by converting the least overtly loyal Google users over to them.

However, that increase would need to come from the 27 per cent of respondents who replied ‘Maybe, but only if it was better than Google and Bing’. (Facebook already integrates Bing into its Search function, but it is a buried option in the navigational side-bar post query, so this really does not constitute its own search engine by any real definition).

On the flip side, Greenlight found that Google’s own social endeavours with Google+ might be more successful than most think.For instance, 23% of Google users have been +1’ing listings in Google’s search results, giving Google lots of data about what people like.

One thing is for sure - Facebook is in a position to compete if it so chooses to, but unseating a solid incumbent like Google will require more than just cash reserves and posturing. It’s an expensive battle to start and, make no mistake, Google is a formidable opponent that nobody should pick a fight with lightly.

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