It appears Facebook may be moving on the offensive in an online search industry dominated by Google.
It was recently reported that Google decided to poach on Facebook’s Internet territory by providing third-party websites with a similar platform for user comments on content that ties back to Google+, and as if it were a matter of tit for tat, reports are now surfacing that Facebook is working on its own Facebook-centric search engine.
While the comparison may be lopsided, it is a fair example of yet another strategic move that pits the two Internet giants against one another in a bid for Web domination. Industry observers have noted other examples of the two companies’ habits for “borrowing” ideas and strategies from one another in their attempts to win more users and dollars.
In an interesting twist, however, this time Facebook is being assisted in its efforts by a Google defector who undoubtedly has a more nuanced understanding of the inner workings of the search giant. Former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen is reportedly leading a team of two dozen Facebook techs in creating a search capability that will allow Facebook users to more easily search the ever-growing social media network.
While not a direct threat to Google’s control of Internet-wide search, the capability could keep Facebook users from leaving Facebook to find information and tie-ins to ongoing conversations that are fast becoming more enriched with embedded content as users get savvier and status posting options get easier.
Interestingly, Google appears to be unfazed by Facebook’s move and journalists who are trading notes on the topic have noticed Google’s indirect efforts to get the story about the new search function out in the open, even though there has been no official announcement from Facebook. The most common inference being made is that Google is hoping its competitor’s moves will help ease antitrust pressure that has been mounting for some time.
More competition for Google in the search industry can be seen as nothing but a good thing for the company, which remains largely unthreatened by other search businesses. The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s most recent reports show Google enjoys 83% of global search market control. Google likes to argue, however, that the percentage is not reflective of the total competition pool because it only represents those companies who are strictly in the business of search. Facebook’s new search platform, for example, would not fall into this category even though it would likely capture many Google users.
Even so, Google’s argument looks very flimsy in the light of day and even if Facebook achieves modest success with its search capability it will be some time before Google has to worry about dwindling market share.
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James Madeiros writes for Sparkplug Digital, an online marketing company providing linkbuilding, SEO audits, and SEO campaign management for tech companies. Contact us at info(at)sparkplugdigital.com.