Facebook Chasing Googles Tail

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-01-23 Print this article Print

The parallels are interesting but remember that Facebook is a social network and Google is a search engine, making them somewhat apples and oranges from a user experience perspective.

People go to Google to search the Web. Google tallied 87.8 billion searches in December 2009, or 66.8 percent of the more than 131 billion searches conducted worldwide, according to comScore.

People go to Facebook to hang out with friends and even meet new people online, as the comScore stats show. Time spent at the social site is bound to be greater.

However, each company is dabbling in the other's backyard. Facebook has improved search to surface more relevant social and news information. Google has begun socializing its search experience. How these efforts will pan out for the respective companies is unclear.

It's impossible to compare them from a financial perspective because Facebook, which makes millions each year, is private. The publicly traded Google just made a profit of 1.97 billion for the fourth quarter and has $24.5 billion in the bank.

Though if Facebook were to go public in 2010 at age six it would draw greater comparisons to Google for being on a similar trajectory, if in Facebook can draw up a monetization engine that rivals Google's AdWords system. They say there is money in the social network mines, but few have been able to mine it and product success worth widely publicizing.

Meanwhile, while Google's search innovation continue at a rapid clip, Facebook showed in this just ended third week of January that it is building a full head of steam after the holiday. Facebook is ramping up its efforts to let users access external applications through Facebook. 

The site now lets users receive updates from MSN, Yahoo! or Gmail accounts in their Facebook e-mail inboxes, similar to how they may receive e-mail notifications from Facebook when they're tagged in a photo or receive a message. 

In the ultimate nod to its great growth, Facebook Jan. 21 broke ground at its first custom data center. Located in Prineville, Ore., the facility houses thousands of networked computer servers that in turn houses data on Facebook's users.

This will be crucial as the site builds out its developers platform and Facebook Connect bridge to external sites.

Google is believed to have dozens of data centers all over the world, but remember it is twice Facebook's age. Give Facebook time; as Google proved, the best Web companies grow up big, strong and fast.


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