The best thing Facebook ever did

What will let Facebook own the internet advertisement? How will Facebook displace Google from being the top advertising platform?

Well, that’s obvious now. With the help of their Like button placed all over the whole darn internet. OK, maybe it’s not that obvious, but there are only three pieces to this puzzle:

First, Facebook is the company that finally owns our online identity. Microsoft couldn’t do it with its HailStorm and Passport. Google couldn’t do it with Gmail/Google account. Facebook, with all the sites that use Facebook Connect is the 800-pound gorilla in the online identity market.

Second, web search is quickly becoming a commodity. It’s not hard for a large company to build a search engine or license someone else’s search engine. Its search quality won’t be as good as that of Google, but see the next point.

Surprise! The search quality as it has been understood by Google is not important to the consumers anymore. That’s why there are new players in the field, who innovate by delivering different search experience: Bing, Wolfram Alpha, and others. While Google does a good job of counting incoming links and clearing search results off spam, 99.99% of those search results are still irrelevant for me and you. But imagine what would happen if Google sorted the search results by bringing the posts “liked” by your friends to the top? Now, this would be like by thousand times more relevant! The only problem is that Google doesn’t know who my friends are, leave alone what pages they “liked”.

The mathematical approach of Google to the web search fails miserably when compared to the social approach. People always want to know what movies their friends watch, what music they listen to, where they go to dine, get excited. There will always be hardcore users who will use Google for search, but the rest of the population and advertisement dollars will go to Facebook.

P.S. Just when I was about to finish, I found this fresh post: Will Facebook Be Tomorrow’s Google, and Google Tomorrow’s Microsoft? , expressing similar ideas. It’s fun to read it too, especially since it comes from a former Google Group Product Manager.


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