Facebook Overtakes Google Search in US – A Warning Sign?

Mon 29 March 2010 12:40, Susie Hood

Facebook Overtakes Google Search in US – A Warning Sign?

Hitwise, an internet research company, has announced that as of 13th of March 2010, Facebook achieved 7.07% of all internet traffic to their homepage, compared to Google’s 7.03%.
A lot of hype has surrounded this recent statistic but what does it really mean? How accurate are these statistics i.e does it take into account Google toolbar searches and iprofiles? Are Google really being outshined by Facebook? If Facebook goes into search will Facebook become the new portal and the goal for SEO?

Social media in SEO is an ever increasing part of successful SEO campaigns, but really could such monetization kill Google? In the Grand Scheme of things Google have been much more than a search engine for a long time. If we bring all of Google’s websites together, they accounted for 11.03% of all US visits so Google as a company are not in any danger of losing their crown, but as a search engine are Google’s days really numbered?

This could be worrying for Google, as its own attempts to enter the social networking sector with Buzz was hit hard with initial privacy issues and is seen as a general flop in terms of its rivals Facebook and Twitter – although of course it is early days.

Google however are making their mark in other fields with the recent acquisition of Picnik.com, a photo editing website and it’s much anticipated Google Goggles (a powerful image search) which is already available on Android phones.

Social networking website users are much more likely to leave for a newer shinier model. It is highly possible that Google may re-release Buzz with a lot more features, Google can afford to make mistakes in the social networking world so they can experiment and try to get things right. Facebook tries to make changes and causes major controversy, as seen with the recent changes to privacy and default profile settings.

The real question is ‘Can Facebook handle such growth?’ With a questionable business model that doesn’t appear to really support the amount of users and the constant issues users get at peak times then perhaps that question has already been answered. We have seen this all before with MySpace where it briefly overtook Google in 2006. As a social networking site, MySpace was able to fall back on its music service and its own record label, Facebook has neither of these to cushion the blow of a superior competitor.

The future is all about the social world, but will it be a Facebook or Google shaped one or is there room for all?

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