Is Facebook Muscling in on Search?
The battle between Google and Facebook has been steadily building for some time now. Google fired the opening salvo when they launched Google+ with the aim of taking the social networking crown from Facebook. The move hasn't been without controversy, with the European Union investigating the company after activity on Google+ was found to influence the Google search results.
Facebook is fighting back however, with BusinessWeek reporting that they are muscling in on Google's traditional search engine territory.
The social network is looking to overhaul its search engine, appointing former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen to lead a team of engineers tasked with making it easier to sift through the vast amount of content users create and share on the site.
At the moment the web search on Facebook is powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine and although Facebook declined to comment on the report it would make sense for them to branch out into search on their own.
With their IPO coming soon they will be casting envious eyes on the huge revenue Google generate from search advertising and want a bit of the action, especially given relatively poor returns on existing Facebook advertising for users. If they had a credible search engine of their own they could see keyword ads akin to Google Adwords.
Will people use Facebook for search?
In February comScore reported that Facebook users conducted 336 million searches. That sounds a lot but when you consider that Twitter users do around 19 billion searches a month, and Google users over 100 billion it shows how weak the current Facebook search really is.
With a $15 billion search advertising market at stake however there is every incentive for them to improve their search offering. Whether they can pull it off only time will tell. One thing is for sure however, the online landscape is going to be an interesting place as Facebook and Google go head to head.