Facebook is winning the social media wars. But Google isn’t worried. According to Chief Executive Officer Larry Page, Google Plus has more than 100 million active users. Facebook, meanwhile, has more than 900 million active monthly users. Google Plus has a little more than 10 percent of Facebook’s reach, and its users spend a mere 3.3 minutes per month on the search engine giant’s social network, compared with the average Facebook user’s eight hours.
Facebook’s almost-impenetrable advantage is the fact that everyone you know is already there. What’s the point of going to another party when you’re already at the most popular one — and the other party has 10 times fewer people, less buzz, and is playing the same music?
The End Of The Search Era?
Facebook Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg:
The past 100 years have been defined by the mass media. In the next 100 years, information won’t be just pushed out to people: It will be shared among the millions of connections people have.
If Zuckerberg has his way, Facebook will evolve to a point where people don’t need to search for information. Instead, answers will come to them via their Facebook friends and social graph. Although this may seem like an assault on Google’s core search business, Google Is not worried. Here’s why.
Google Is Built To Make Money (For Its Customers)
Google made $37.9 billion in revenue last year, 96 percent of which came from advertising. Facebook made $4.27 billion, 89 percent of which came from advertising. According to eMarketer:
Even though Facebook has spent several years wooing marketers, many of them still believe the ads aren’t effective at driving clicks and other actions.
It’s Bigger Than Social Media
Google doesn’t have to worry about Facebook threatening its online advertising revenue in the near future, but what about the next several decades? Google will integrate Google Plus deeper into its services (Gmail, YouTube, search, etc.), and will have more than enough shared information to create a “social layer” for users’ entire online experience. In fact, Google Plus results are already changing users’ search results.
Search Engines Are Here To Stay
Software Developer Lars Rasmussen:
I do think that social is a significantly less explored area still than search, and it is sort of the frontier of technology in many ways. But that doesn’t mean in any way that search is obsolete or even close to being obsolete. We are all going to be using search many, many times a day, every day of our lives, forever.
The fact that search engines remain popular despite the booming growth of social networks means that they are fulfilling a need that sites such as Facebook do not. According to Alexa, Google is the most visited site in the world, followed by Facebook and YouTube, the latter of which Google owns.
The Entry Costs To Build A Search Engine? Massive
The learning curve to integrate a popular social network is not nearly as steep as the learning curve Facebook will have if it tries to create its own search engine. Google has invested billions of dollars into its algorithm and has seen Yahoo give up after 15 years. According to a top Silicon Valley investor, Google will have a monopoly over search because it costs $5 billion to $10 billion per year to run a search engine. Google is synonymous with search.
The Facebook vs. Google Plus war misses the big picture. Facebook is a social network. Google is a search engine that needs a modestly successful social network to complement the way it organizes the Internet.
“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” says its homepage. It has a long way to go before that shared information can pose a serious threat to Google.
Nickolay Lamm is an Internet marketing and social media specialist who keeps track of consumer fraud.