We have always known about the legendary rivalry between Microsoft and Google with each vying for the marketshare in almost all areas. Till recently Facebook was just another social networking site, a college student’s pass time creation. Well sorry to break that bubble but Facebook has matured into much more than that. In fact it is now ready to take on the internet titan, Google.
Facebook has recently announced the new ‘Like’ feature wherein any website can embed the button on their website and thereby updating the likes of any facebook user. Though seemingly a simple feature this step by Fcebook has a lot of implications for other social networking sites. Let us take careful look into them.
Facebook’s main rival has always been Twitter. Nevertheless Twitter has never managed to garner as many users as Facebook has. While Twitter membership stats are around 100 million, Facebook has a whopping 400 million. This huge disparity encourages app developers to go for the larger market and thus Facebook gains. By embedding a ‘like’ button on other websites on the likes of the ‘retweet’ button Facebook has opened up a larger market for website developers. Considering the number of users who would like rather than retweet websites would most probably go for the like button. Facebook’s like button is also more functional as it shows how many friends have liked the same store and also suggests stories you might like. This will further accelerate Facebook’s growth.
The Google vs Facebook face off is more interesting. Google logs all your searches and also the links that you click on. Every click on link adds up as a vote in Google’s servers. It uses this data to provide a more personalized search. On the other hand Facebook has a complete of your likes, a list of your friends and their interests. Figure all that into your search and you get a truly personalized search. Add to that a like button on most of the websites and there is the world’s best search engine in the making. Facebook as of now is more than equipped to take on Google.
Another arena where Facebook is close to thwarting Google is the advertisement arena and for the same reasons mentioned above. Google’s Adsense may be good but given Facebook’s knowledge about an individual, companies will definitely chose Facebook for their ads. Perhaps this is the biggest threat Google faces as majority of Google’s income is through ads.
All this puts Facebook in a very dominating but also a very vulnerable position. Google has the clout to bring out any new feature or buy any service to counterattack Facebook. Twitter is furiously working on updates to its service. There is also the danger of people getting bored with Facebook triggering a mass exodus of users. History shows us that is what happened with MySpace and a couple of other social networking sites.