Facebook continues to be growing at the rate of around 5 million users a week according to the latest numbers but Twitter, the latest Silicon Valley darling, is posting some impressive growth figures of its own. The most recent data provided by Google Trends shows that Twitter has reached a search volume in just over a year and a quarter, that it took Facebook 2 and a half years to accomplish.
This should be concerning for Facebook who has been taking steps to duplicate much of the functionality provided by the rapidly growing micro-blogging service. The charts are somewhat misleading though if you factor in on other piece of information. Facebook’s search data shows up in Google Trends within months of launching their service.
In contrast, Twitter’s search data only showed up on Google Trends’ radar almost six months after beginning. When taken into account, this information still doesn’t make the picture much more rosy for Facebook. Twitter’s rate of adoption is phenomenal and it has become more than a little thorn in Facebook’s side. Facebook is expected to announce greater API functionality over the coming months that will hopefully drive some developers from Twitter back to building on Facebook.
Unfortunately, not all developers are happy. A few large developers that I spoke to in recent weeks have complained that Facebook’s vision of becoming the web-based platform of the future, previously announced my Mark Zuckerberg, has become tainted with so many changes that it has become an unsafe environment for building a business (that’s built on the application platform).
What was once billed as the first social operating system, has instead been replaced as the social backbone for external applications. Not a bad position for Facebook but now some developers have been forced to diversify their development efforts to other platforms.
Not all developers are complaining however. LivingSocial for example, continues to experience phenomenal growth thanks to widespread feed distribution in the new redesign. Flixster and a number of other applications have mimicked the call to action images utilized by LivingSocial. Soon, growth among these applications may become stunted as Facebook plans to be eliminating call to action images from feed stories according to people I’ve spoken with.
That means icons like the one pictured above can’t be used to drive new installs. This is a minor technicality though (not so minor for the developers taking advantage of this) in the ongoing Twitter versus Facebook saga. What’s clear is that the battle will only become more fierce before there is any sort of resolution.