Thoughts on Google and Facebook – Search vs Find

At the turn of the year 2011, it was interesting to hear that according to Hitwise, Facebook finally eclipsed Google as the most visited website in 2010. Could this mean that the tides are slowly and steadily shifting on the world wide web. I think yes.

Google’s fame, fortune and power came off the back of monetising and monopolising Search before anyone else in the game knew how to do it properly. Facebook’s fame, fortune and power came from monetising and monopolising Social under similar circumstances. Google vs Facebook has been discussed widely before and it is well known that Google’s failure at engaging in Social has hurt them in recent times. Social is emerging as a dominant force in connecting people with information. Whilst Google is languishing at Social, not only is Facebook demolishing social, it is also doing something else quite well too.

It is good at finding things for you.

Think of it this way, when you or I log into Facebook, information is presented to us instantly. We do not have to search for anything, though we can if we wish. Facebook presents us with data based on our personal information direct from our friends, family, co-workers and even businesses, brands and organisations that appeal to us. Facebook also recommends to us people that we may know, events that we may like to attend, and ways to entertain ourselves via games, photographs, videos and links.

My point is this, when an entity such as Facebook provides us with a vast array of relevant and useful information – without us having to search for it – what happens to a company like Google whose core business is Search. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a need for a Search engine such as Google, but when we as a consumer have less need to go searching for things because they are automatically found for us, well that’s probably a sign of the diminishing power of Search. Google’s diminishing power.