Maybe the situation isn’t quite as extreme as my title would indicate*, but there’s been some buzz lately that before Facebook goes public in 2012, they’ll be introducing a new, proprietary search engine to rival Google, Bing-Yahoo, and the rest. As Facebook overtook Google as the most-visited site on the internet last year, this could signal a major change in the world of SEO and internet marketing.
Facebook is pretty much the biggest thing in the world—it seems like every other news story you read has some sort of Facebook connection, it’s inspired a best-selling book, and the founding of the company is now the basis for a critically-acclaimed and award-winning movie (but so help me, if The Social Network wins the Oscar for Best Picture, I’ll eat my hat**). So, with the possible—some say unavoidable—creation of a Facebook-based search engine, will Mark Zuckerberg and The South Seas Paradise, Put Your Blues on Ice, Cheap at Twice the Price Band at Facebook revolutionize the way the world uses its’ wide web, again?
Facebook already has a sort-of search engine option on the site, which has proven to be fairly effective and popular. But, the introduction of a full, Googlesque search engine would likely elevate the social networking titan to Khan-like*** levels of world conquest. If it’s already the world’s most popular website, will adding a feature that rivals the functionality of its’ nearest competitor turn Facebook into a one-stop shop for everything on the internet? Not quite, but it will certainly make things interesting for those of us in the SEO and internet marketing business.
Most companies large and small already have a Facebook presence (after all, it’s easy and free), so adding search will allow a lot of business to be done without ever having to leave Facebook. The bigger, more complex parts of e-commerce will still have to exist outside Facebook (for now), but if B2B and B2C connections can be made more quickly and efficiently on Facebook, it seems inevitable that Google’s stake in the search game will be drastically lowered.
While no formal announcements regarding the addition of a search feature have been made by Zuckerberg or other Facebook representatives, it does seem like a logical next step for the company. The site already does a brisk trade in advertising, so that’s pretty well wrapped up for them; e-commerce is a huge undertaking that they’ll likely pass on (at least for the foreseeable future); search is essentially what drives the entire internet, they’ve already got a basic foundation in place, and, as far I know, Earth itself is not actually for sale. So, what better way for Facebook to continue its world domination than by beating its competition at their own game? Stay tuned—two years from now we may be writing articles about optimizing your Facebook Analytics account.
* Original title: “Facebook Search Engine of Death 2000”
** Luckily, I have a hat made of beef jerky for just such an occasion.
*** Genghis, not Noonien Singh