Those magic words that Google hoped it would never hear: “At some point we’ll do it.” Zuckerberg was referring to a potential new Facebook search engine that could threaten Google’s stranglehold on the tech industry.
Zuckerberg spat them out at a recent TechCrunch Disrupt talk after confirming that Facebook is generating close to 1 billion searches per day, about a third of what Google does currently, and way more than either Bing or Yahoo.
A social search engine makes a lot of sense since these would be real users, not anonymous entries or the small, but growing faction that sign in to use Gmail, Google Plus, Google Docs or Google Check-in.
“If you think about all of the connected information that Facebook possesses, the company is certainly in a better position than any new startup, when it comes to building a search engine,” said TechCrunch Disrupt. “Once you have that entire information ready to pull up in response to user’s questions, it’s just a matter of how those responses will be displayed.”
Small business owners with websites hosted on Midphase Linux servers spend a considerable amount of time and marketing dollars optimizing their online presence for search engines, especially Google. However, besides the recent introduction of Google Plus, Google search largely attracts anonymous users, something that Facebook could definitely improve upon with social search.
According to the Los Angeles Times about 90% of small businesses are dedicating time to networking online. 78% aid that using social networking platforms is just as important as networking in person.
“Social networking on sites such as Facebook and Foursquare help small businesses receive immediate referrals when customers check in or tag the companies, according to the survey, and 42% of businesses reported that a quarter of their new customers came through social-media sites.”
If Facebook does introduce a social search engine it would probably mean a huge of amount of native SEO value for existing business pages set up and socialized on Facebook already. Theoretically, a small business could then instantly leverage good results on Facebook Search without having to nurture extra channels in new systems such as Google Plus.
There is also the tantalizing possibility that Facebook and Microsoft may team up to unify their search collateral that could really shake Google up. This partnership would be a long-term threat to Google, unifying search, social juice and new mobile opportunities afforded by Microsoft’s Metro operating system.