Ronnie05's Blog

Google rules, but Facebook is changing the nature of Internet undermining Google’s ability to stay king

Posted in Internet and Search, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on October 7, 2010

Introducing a four part series on the evolution of Social platforms as the future of Internet. Led by Facebook, Social Internet is already edging out Search/Information era (the Google Internet).

Google rules, but Facebook is changing the nature of Internet undermining Google’s ability to stay king

Facebook will be bigger in five years than Google is right now. Facebook will grow without needing to cut into Google’s core business of text ads, which are still 99% of Google’s profits . Even if every single Facebook user performs just as many searches with Google as ever—including Google Instant, mobile search, and YouTube—Facebook will inexorably grow as big as Google is today and maybe bigger. Brands are less interested in targeting than they are in broadcasting and engaging audiences and Facebook is the best platform for that.

Facebook already has more page views than Google. People already spend more time spent on Facebook than Google. Internet audit firm comScore said U.S. Web users in August spent 41.1 million minutes on Facebook compared to 39.8 million minutes on all of Google’s Websites. In percentage terms, the time spent on Facebook is about 9.9% of activity in August of U.S. Internet users. The Mountain View company follows right behind, with 9.6%. Principally, Google and Facebook work on two different philosophies.500 million worldwide users spend on average of 20 minutes or more per day socializing with friends, family and even colleagues on Facebook. On the other hand, Google is a fact-finding powerhouse for searchers wanting a quick fix. The search engine handles more than a billion searches a day from its one billion users, numbers that could soar with Google Instant ramping up the pace of search on Google.

The notion that Facebook would surpass its search portal giants in minutes spent online has seemed like a foregone conclusion for months given the social network’s meteoric rise in users and the rampant sharing of links, photos, video and other content on the Website.The idea that Facebook would best a search engine built to serve users results and send them elsewhere seems logical. But the idea that Facebook is also beating out an incredibly sticky video site in YouTube, a massively popular Webmail app in Gmail, and several other Web services is impressive and points to Google’s dilemma. Engagement is now clearly skewed to social network sites like Facebook, not siloed Web services such as Google search and e-mail. This isn’t a crisis for Google because they still have considerable engagement and terrific marketing offerings such as AdWords, but Google will want to leverage its strong brand and the 39.8M minutes people spend on Google properties each month to create what they have not yet created: A single, cohesive place to engage, share, play and learn. Facebook commands more attention and consumer time, and that puts them in a powerful position with marketers who want to reach those consumer.

Facebook’s ascension to the top spot in minutes logged to its Website is a first and underscores the importance of Google’s pending social network effort. Facebook is thus challenging Google’s supremacy on the internet by challenging the basic nature of the internet. From being a place where information can be mined, to a more personalised social-personal perspective, Facebook’s definition of internet is making social connections the key and information the also relevant.

Read Part II of the series here

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