A Facebook Search Engine? Someday, says Zuckerberg
In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook discussed the company's falling stock price, their future plans for mobile advertising, the fact that they will not be making their own mobile phone, and something of particular interest to SEO'ers everywhere: apparently, Facebook could be producing a search engine in the not-too-distant future.
However, would a Facebook search engine be designed to compete directly with Bing, Yahoo and the almighty Google, or would the search engine be something a little different?
A "Billion Searches Per Day" Without Even Trying
In the interview with TechCrunch's Mike Arrington, Zuckerberg said that Facebook is already fielding around a billion searches every day, and "we're not even trying." Presumably, Zuckerberg is talking about searches for people and business pages on his own site, but is that serving as rehearsal for a full-on leap into the Google-dominated search industry?
Zuckerberg said that the "big opportunity" for Facebook is to capitalize on people searching for brands, not just people. If anything, he says Facebook would create a search engine that delivers what he thinks existing search companies are already gravitating toward: an engine that delivers an actual set of answers, not just a list of places where you may or may not find those answers.
Using Your Friends to Find You the Answers You're Seeking
Zuckerberg gave an example to demonstrate his idea for a Facebook search engine. He said that if a person searched for information about a local sushi restaurant, the company could theoretically deliver a customized, more-useful answer by referencing the connections you've already made over Facebook, both with people and with brands. One could see how you'd be more likely to find a given sushi restaurant if it's one that your close friends already talk about and have reviewed positively.
Just How Far Along is Facebook Search?
Zuckerberg clearly stated that Facebook would enter the search market directly "at some point," and even said that an internal team is already working on the functionality. However, he also mentioned that there's nothing concrete to announce just yet, but it seems plausible that Facebook is exploring all possible options for increasing revenue and pleasing investors and would-be investors in light of its stock debacle.
It's worth noting that Facebook already offers its social data to Microsoft's Bing, but not to Google, who is in direct competition with Facebook in the social networking industry with its Google+ service. Microsoft, on the other hand, has no major social network of its own.