When Facebook first launched, it was looked at as a niche social network. The site catered to college kids and seemed to be destined to live in that world. But after an increasing number of people joined the site, and its CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg decided to open it up to the general public all that changed. Now, Facebook is a Web juggernaut, and is closing in on a billion active users.
Meanwhile, Google is lurking in the shadows. The company is undoubtedly the most dominant Internet company in the world and its continued growth in both search and advertising is enough to worry any competitor. Even the mighty Microsoft has been forced to wonder if Google could one day put its business to shame. Microsoft detractors might argue that it has already done so.
But Facebook is a different beast altogether. The worlds largest social network is growing like a weed and its starting to cut into Googles advertising business. Meanwhile, with its IPO looming, Facebook will soon be flush with the cash it needs to go head-to-head with Google.
Get ready for a big battle between the companies. And read on to find out why theyre techs next big rivalry:
1. Both are vying for ads
Both Microsoft and Google rely heavily upon Web advertising to drive their businesses. Facebook has tried expanding into a virtual currency, known as Credits, which has helped buoy revenue, but for now, advertising is its focus. Google has long been the world leader in Web ads. But that has changed as of late as Facebook has generated billions of dollars from ads. Look for that to be a key reason for their battle in the coming years.
2. Both are vying for the same users
Aside from ads, Google and Facebook are both trying to attract the same Web users. With so many people who use the Internet heading to Google and Facebook each day, the goal for each company now is to get them going to their respective sites. In order to achieve that, their business interests will continue to clash.
3. Google is no longer about getting rid of you
There was a time when Googles ultimate goal was to attract users to its site, help them find a Web page they wanted to visit and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Google was a middleman that facilitated Web traffic. Nowadays, Google has become far more sticky, attracting users to its online productivity suite, photos, email, and more. Facebook is also one of those sticky sites. That can only mean one thing: a battle.
4. Online video is a sore subject
When Google acquired YouTube, there was some speculation that the search giant wouldnt be able to muster a positive return on its investment. Google has only recently started to prove those naysayers wrong. However, Facebook has also become a huge video destination, as users post new clips on the social network for friends to see. Facebook doesnt have the 4 billion daily video views YouTube does, but its closing in on the search company.
Facebook Is Apt to Keep Expanding
5. The mobile play is paramount
For now, Google has a dominant position in the mobile space, thanks to Android, AdMob and its mobile applications. However, Facebook is also starting to make a push for the mobile space, and according to the latest rumors, will be delivering a host of new apps in the coming years. Both Google and Facebook see how important the mobile market is.
6. Facebook will soon have the cash
One of the nice things about Googles business is that the search giant has all the cash it needs to acquire companies and expand into new markets. Facebook doesnt really have that. But after it completes its $5 billion in its upcoming IPO, itll have all the cash itll need to take the next step and grow up as a Web company.
7. Expansion is Facebooks next move
Following that, its important to point out that Facebook has its sights set on expansion. The company knows that simply being a social network isnt enough and will need to try something else. Google came to the same realization after its IPO, when it discovered that being a search engine just isnt enough. Look for Facebook to aggressively expand in the coming years.
8. Dont forget the search opportunity
Facebook has so far dabbled in search by allowing users to input certain terms in the sites search box, and showing results from across the Web. Facebook has indicated that it plans to expand on that and its actions apps are helping bridge the gap between the social network and other Websites. How will Google respond to that?
9. Google+ anyone?
Want to find the most obvious wayGoogle has shown its concerned about Facebook? Look no further than Google Buzz and Google+. The search giant tried to incorporate Google Buzz into Gmail for a social-networking push, but after that failed, it tried again with Google+. That service has caught on with consumers, and now theres a good chance Facebook and Google will be fighting tooth and nail in the social space next year.
10. Dont Forget Microsoft
Finally, its important not to lose sight of Microsoft as a catalyst for the battle between Facebook and Google. The software company is a Facebook investor, Bing and Facebook are integrated, and Microsoft is also the firm Google hates most. If thats not a recipe for war, what is?