Give it another couple of years and you may find yourself saying “Facebook it”, perhaps it won’t have the connotation as to “Google it”, but it will be just as powerful. In the recent introduction of Community Pages and the latest news we heard from the f8 Conference this past week it is now more apparent then ever before that Facebook is serious about overtaking the web.
Facebook is intent on deeply integrating their technology all over the web and they will succeed. Any websites that choose to ignore Facebook will find themselves left out of the mix and to be honest, there is no reason not to integrate Facebook’s plugins – they make it very simple to do. It’s been approximately a decade since our last major web company emerged to become an industry titan, of course, that being Google. Before that there was Microsoft and before Microsoft, there was IBM. The next web giant will be Facebook.
Facebook’s growth is tremendous and it isn’t done yet, they have over 400 million users and 500 million visitors per month. The only companies with more monthly visitors are Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. I totally expect to see Facebook surpass everyone within the next year or two. The faster websites integrate Facebook (and they will eventually), the faster they will grow. This puts Facebook in an interesting position. A position of power over Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.
Facebook continues to talk about making the web more social and better organized. If you look at the current state of Google, they are making finding and searching content easier and to a degree organizing the world’s data, investing heavily and exploring in the mobile market, and seem to have an interest in operating systems. If you take a look at Yahoo, it’s not completely clear what they are doing, but it seems it’s along the lines of content creation. While Microsoft is doing the same things they have done in the past, Windows, Office, Cloud technology, Search, and now introducing new mobile technology.
While those three companies are focusing on those things, Facebook has been slowly creeping into all of their spaces. Google should be keeping an eye on Facebook – I think they have the most to lose here. Facebook’s Like plugin which has replaced the share plugin on many sites (including mine) will be an excellent source of information to build a user preferences/tastes/likes database. Think of this user preferences database, the same way Google tracks your surfing and clicking habits (by clicking results and ads) to build a profile on you to help decide which ads to show you when you visit a website or are looking through search results.
These “likes” will determine which ads are displayed to you on Facebook and potentially outside of Facebook (AdSense for Facebook, perhaps?). It comes down to relevancy in the online advertising business and if Facebook is able to provide the most relevant ads and advertisers have a better ROI with Facebook over Google – guess who’s getting advertisers money first? Facebook. Google should be somewhat concerned, they currently do not have this ability and online advertising is their bread and butter. I think they know that too and that is one of the reasons they launched Buzz directly within Gmail. It wasn’t about having their own realtime network, it was about making more relevant ads by seeing what people were buzzing about. Soon enough it may be Google vs Facebook.
If Google tried to launch something of this nature today it would be torn apart and made into a huge privacy concern. While there has been some concern and debate over the new Facebook integration and privacy policies, Facebook is still considered a startup and on top of that they are a private company. Overall, they still have that “feel” about them that Google had going back 5-10 years ago. Bottom line is they can get away with this at this point in time and this is just the beginning of the Facebook Empire.