I wrote before about how Facebook could beef up their internal search engine and get users used to good internal search and then they could go off and switch on external search too and how it would be more powerful than Google’s search as it would have so much profile data about their users that they could really refine search results. Time is ticking for Facebook on this, Google is battling back now with their profiling work.
I think Facebook, when they attempt to do Internet search will feel the full force of Google’s wealth and impressive collective brain to disrupt and wreck their plans. I’m sure Google has a whole team devoted to wondering what Facebook could do to them. If OpenSocial, their flailing attempt at hitting at Facebook’s growth by offering open alternatives to competitors; is all they can come up with then Facebook shouldn’t worry but I think this ill-thought out programme was a badly implemented 11th hour attempt at slowing Facebook. It’s not worked kids. They’re surely smarting enough now to get the next swipe to be more effective?
So why not roll out a basic external search now anyway? Know of any companies hurting over a failed attempt at taking on Google? Oh yeah, Microsoft. They seem to have a lot of money to spend now that Yahoo! has rejected them. Rumours are saying they want to buy Facebook. Not gonna happen. If Microsoft became the external search partner for Facebook though it would be a huge boost. 70M extra and very active customers for Live.com? Yes please. And all the ads around those searches! If some profile data was shared too for the ad servers – better ads, more money. Maybe this is what they’re negotiating?
Or there’s Yahoo! themselves. In my previous post I said that Facebook could one day buy Yahoo! but in the meantime they could allow Yahoo! to be their external search partner. Years back Yahoo! gave Google a break and used their search tech. Yahoo! had the chance of buying Facebook but now Facebook could give Yahoo! a break and do external search. God knows both companies could do with some real revenue.
Saying that though, Yahoo! seems to have become too aligned with Google of late and Microsoft are really good pals with Facebook at the same time. Search is a core thing needed for any “utility”. Facebook is connecting people and allowing them to share data and content but search is still essential and it’s never going to die.