So far this week, we’ve wondered if Google cares about social, after an analyst said that Google is ignoring social search because they’re jealous of social networks. But now they may have something new to fear from Facebook, the most popular social network worldwide: imminent death.
Or at least that’s what Henry Blodget says after a presentation by Ross Sandler of RBC. Although Facebook’s traffic to Google has more than doubled in the last year (19% of Google sessions come from FB, up from 9% last year), Facebook’s worldwide traffic is growing at an alarming rate—one that could surpass Google in another two to three years (in terms of unique visitors).
It’s the end of the world as we search marketers know it! It’s like when the hula hoop came out, everyone immediately stopped drinking Kool-Aid—and just look where the powdered soft drink industry is now!
(What? You can still buy Kool-Aid, Tang and generic products at every grocery store on the planet? Oh…)
I know it’s really easy to forget this sometimes, but Google and Facebook are two different things. For now, as Sandler rightly points out, they even complement one another. And even if Facebook becomes every single person on earth’s start page, somehow I don’t think that’s going to sound a death knell for Google. (Or is it really difficult to remember to type in “Google.com” in the address bar? Oh, wait, nm—I guess it is.)
As I’ve said more than once over the past couple weeks, we have to remember that social and search simply aren’t the same thing. They may have some big overlap: sometimes, yes, it’s better to rely on actual humans whose judgment you trust when you’re searching for something. But by and large, social and search serve two different purposes. I don’t expect Google to tell me what my 200 closest friends are doing right now, and I don’t expect Facebook to find me the time of sunset for March 13, 2010 in Chicago.
What do you think? Even assuming Facebook can sustain its growth, can Facebook “kill” Google?