Facebook unveils its Google rival

by dburk
16 replies
  • SEO
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Looks like Google may soon have a new serious competitor. Facebook has unveiled it's new question and answer service. The service is currently being "beta" tested with a limited number of people. It's not going to replace Google, but it may make a significant dent in some types of search traffic.

Has anyone here been participating in the beta?
#facebook #google #rival #unveils
  • Profile picture of the author JackPowers
    Seems more like Yahoo Answers to me?
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    • Profile picture of the author Zag
      +1 to JackPowers
      -1 to dburk
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  • Profile picture of the author LiamMcArthur
    Since when have Google had Q&A's? and even if they did - Facebook sucks compared to Google.
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    Liam McArthur
    Web Developer | Eden Mobility
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Brian
    Well, Google used to have Google Answers but they retired it. Google Answers
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    • Profile picture of the author Zag
      Originally Posted by Mark Brian View Post

      Well, Google used to have Google Answers but they retired it. Google Answers
      Very true, but that doesn't mean it is a rival (apologies if this comes across as if I am implying you think so).
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      • Profile picture of the author dburk
        Originally Posted by JackPowers View Post

        Seems more like Yahoo Answers to me?
        Yes, it does sort of, and who is Google's strongest competitor currently? Why it is Yahoo of course.

        This new feature of Facebook will allow their 400+ million active Facebook users the ability to perform certain types of searches without going to Google, Yahoo or Bing.

        Originally Posted by Zag View Post

        Very true, but that doesn't mean it is a rival (apologies if this comes across as if I am implying you think so).
        No one will challenge Google's leadership in pure generic search anytime in the near future. This doesn't mean that more specific types of searches couldn't offer a challenge at the margins.

        If my memory serves me correctly, business mavens laughed and ridiculed the tiny startup known as Google who had the audacity to challenge the behemoth Yahoo! We all know how that turned out. Many folks doubted open source browser developer Mozilla would seriously challenge Microsoft's dominance of the browser market, Folks are taking them seriously now though IE still dominates.

        Facebook's huge user base currently leaves facebook to do most any kind of keyword search right now. Most use Google, but how many will use a search box built into Facebook when it's available?

        Facebook's new question and answer service will not seriously challenge Google's more general purpose Search Engine, however it could become an interesting vehicle for highly target advertising, which strikes at the heart of Google's primary revenue source.

        Despite numerous attempts, Google has yet to build a successful social media platform from scratch. Their one truly large scale successful platform was purchased not built (Youtube). The enhanced search results that social networks could potentially provide through recommendations from people you know and trust has some serious commercial value and could potentially suck the most lucrative advertising dollars away from Google.

        While Google dominates nearly all types of searches, they make nearly all of the money from searches with commercial intent. If Facebook is clever with their new offering they could have an Angie's List meets Yahoo Answers with your best friends and family providing moderation including recommendations and reviews. Which would you trust more when making a purchase?

        If Facebook were to become the first stop for searches with commercial intent, where does that leave Google? They would have the highest search volume, but not necessarily the most lucrative search volume. Certainly not an ideal situation for Google.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    In many ways Facebook search would be superior advertising platform as it would give search keyword + demographic targetting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ronald Nzimora
    nothing can rival google
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  • Profile picture of the author JackPowers
    It never hurts to pay a close eye at new developments, so thanks for bringing it up.

    I still don't think Facebook has the potential to challenge Google as an information search engine.

    I don't agree that it's Google's "generic searches" that Facebook can't compete with. Facebook will be perfectly able to deliver for searches such as: "What is the weather in ....", "Restaurant in ....", it will never be able to compete for expert knowledge.

    Facebook is not for serious conversation. It's an online form of gossip. That's why you only see PPC ads for ringtones, lotteries and games there.
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Originally Posted by JackPowers View Post

      It never hurts to pay a close eye at new developments, so thanks for bringing it up.

      I still don't think Facebook has the potential to challenge Google as an information search engine.

      I don't agree that it's Google's "generic searches" that Facebook can't compete with. Facebook will be perfectly able to deliver for searches such as: "What is the weather in ....", "Restaurant in ....", it will never be able to compete for expert knowledge.

      Facebook is not for serious conversation. It's an online form of gossip. That's why you only see PPC ads for ringtones, lotteries and games there.
      I have looked for ways to advertise on Facebook, and the problem has always been that it is difficult to target intent because traffic there was not based on keyword searches. This feature has the potential to solve that problem, plus it eliminates the competition from organic listings. That would be the best of both worlds for advertisers.

      Then you throw in the advantages of a social network, think Angie's List, only better because it's your friends and family and people you know and trust making the recommendations. You now have a platform that is superior for both shoppers and advertisers. This leaves Google with the expensive end of the search business while losing the most lucrative traffic, the shoppers.

      The key thought here is that even though Google organic search results may be superior for non-shoppers, Google receives zero revenue from organic listings. If people prefer to go to Facebook to research buying decisions then much of the money Google now makes could shift into Facebook's pocket.

      To use an analogy, think about books. Google would become the library while Facebook becomes the bookstore. The library would still be the superior place to do research, but where is your first stop if your in the market to purchase a book? Which business model would you invest in?

      The only question is if Facebook has the ability to execute. It's not like they have proven they could ever grow as fast as Google... oh... wait... I guess they ARE the ONLY company that has ever grown FASTER than Google. Sorry, my bad. Still, Google shouldn't worry about companies that grow faster than they they do.. it's not like they are competing directly for the same advertising dollars... er... wait.. my bad again.
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      • Profile picture of the author Spot the Ball
        When somebody like Facebook with their massive user base starts introducing search functions, only a fool would dismiss them.

        Stuff happens in the blink of on eye on the internet.
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        • Profile picture of the author bluet
          I listened to a replay of a seminar recently, and the speaker said that Facebook was working on their own competing email service, like gmail. He also said they were working on their own operating system to compete with Windows. If this is true, they certainly have big plans for the future. I believe they already have more traffic than Google, no?
          Has anyone heard anything about this?
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          • Profile picture of the author mejohn
            Originally Posted by bluet View Post

            I listened to a replay of a seminar recently, and the speaker said that Facebook was working on their own competing email service, like gmail. He also said they were working on their own operating system to compete with Windows. If this is true, they certainly have big plans for the future. I believe they already have more traffic than Google, no?
            Has anyone heard anything about this?
            If that is true, they really want to become the internet powerhouse of the future. They do have power, but I still think it will be difficult for them to compete with the established assets and clientel of Google. Members of Google even advise the US government.
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