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Facebook Finding More Ways to Compete with Google

How Big is This Facebook Thing Going to Get?

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Apparently Facebook is not content with only taking over the web, but wants to get some penetration into the physical world as well. Taking a cue from another dominant company, Google, Facebook is now giving brick and mortar businesses decals to put in their windows. While Facebook tells WebProNews the decals are currently only a test with a small number of businesses, I would expect this to be expanded in the future.

Is Facebook a worthy competitor to Google? Tell us what you think.

Increasing Competition with Google

Google Favorite Places - Decals Google has been sending decals to businesses as part of its Favorite Places program. In fact, they even just announced the expansion of this last week. Whereas Google’s decals include a QR code pointing to the business’ "Place Page," Facebook’s include a link to the business’ Facebook Page.

Google has its fair share of competition from a variety of angles. Apple is getting a great deal of the attention in this regard (making two big moves yesterday), but Facebook is up there as well. Facebook is already a key competitor in terms of where people spend their time online. Facebook expanding its presence all over the web only increases that, and will likely play a big role in the diversification of how people obtain information – in other words, maybe a little less Googling. Some of us have even speculated on the possibility that Facebook could one day create it’s own AdSense-like network.

Implications for Local Search

Facebook Pages Show you how many people like it and how many of your firends do. In a recent article, we already touched upon the idea that Facebook is positioning itself to have a greater presence in how people find information at the local level. Even before Facebook’s latest announcements, business pages have been a great way to engage with local customers.

In that article, I referenced a quote from Search Engine Land contributing editor Greg Sterling, who says, "It [Facebook] could do nothing in particular or it could build the single most effective local directory and search site that exists. This data will be more valuable than anything Google has or any individual local publisher-partner possesses. That includes Yelp, YPG or anyone else that joins the Open Graph and implements these new Facebook platform tools."

All of the "liking" of local businesses that will be facilitated by Facebook’s new Open Graph strategy may be further facilitated by these decals. We don’t know at this point how many businesses are getting these, but if this becomes widespread, it could be pretty powerful for businesses, and perhaps even more so for Facebook itself. As Facebook notes in a letter to those who receive the decals, businesses are already including their Page URLs on various materials – receipts, napkins, storefronts, etc.

Does Facebook Want to Replace the Website?

There has been some discussion lately that perhaps Facebook was going to make Facebook Pages obsolete by putting the "like" button all over the web and changing the "become a fan" button on Facebook Pages to "like". The thinking here would be, what’s the point of liking a Facebook Page for a brand, when you can just like that brand’s site? I think Facebook has the opposite in mind.

As I’ve discussed in the past with regard to Google’s Place Pages (and to some extent, Facebook Pages), maybe they’d rather make the website obsolete and have the Facebook Page (or Google Place Page in previous examples) take their place. If Facebook wants to be the new web, and it wants "likes" to be the new links, why wouldn’t they want Pages to be the new sites? The decals point to Facebook Pages.

In reality, businesses are not going to be giving up their websites anytime soon and handing over full control to Facebook. However, businesses that don’t even have a website may find that a Facebook Page is pretty easy to set up and can connect them with a whole lot of people (much like Google’s Place Pages can). Maintenance is much less of a hassle when it comes to a Facebook Page as well, and some may find that attractive in itself.

Mashable suggests that in the battle for the more dominant decal (in terms of what businesses actually want to display), Facebook may have a leg up with its 400 million+ users and "the value of an instant Fan". While Google has no shortage of users, that "instant fan" concept carries a great deal of weight. When someone visits a Place Page on Google, they can find information about the business, sure. But if they’re already at the business, how much value does that really have, when compared to the one which will put that person essentially on the business’ mailing list – the Facebook version. When they’re a fan, you can communicate to them and with them directly. 

Facebook says businesses that promote their Page off-Facebook tend to see a 20% or greater increase in connections.

Which would you rather have in your window, a Facebook decal or a Google decal? Would you display both or either? Let us know.

Facebook Finding More Ways to Compete with Google
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  • http://www.duran-seo.co.il Duran seo

    sometimes the most simple things make us wonder for ages…
    face book is opening up to the web and starting to add the most important feature of all,
    Human opinion !

    but not the old fashion linking to another site. this time the link is a real person.
    trends can be easily measured by the popularity of different pages on the web.

    the second move face book will probably make is working better on content algorithms
    to know without out help like Google does, what a certain page is all about.

    the next step will be an algorithm that can understand connections between other peoples interest
    and the predict the most hot , trendy related results to a certain subject.

  • http://www.writtenbysumer.com/blog Britt

    I could see the Facebook being a competitor with Google in the far future, but I have a feeling Google will prevent this from occurring somehow. Also, Facebook doesn’t have anywhere near enough features to host the same elements a website or blog does. And for that matter, Facebook’s search isn’t anywhere near as efficient as Google’s search. But who knows, they might surprise me one day.

    • Chris Crum

      I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of what Facebook and its army of developers are going to do with all of this. I expect Facebook to play an increasingly important role in search, and for its own search to massively improve in time, as more and more liking takes place. It will be interesting to see how big a role Bing continues to play in search within Facebook.

  • Shen

    Google guys must be shaking on their undersea cabling boots. Google will be a thing of the past within the next 3 years. The worst thing that Google could have done is piss off their customers with that caffeine non-sense, unfair adsense banning, stupid sandbox and other crap. They have pissed off webmasters, marketers and their dog with their abuse of power. That’s a no no. Now all people talk is Facebook is coming facebook is coming on marketing forums I go to, including this site which is really bad news for Google. I don’t have to remind you that we the webmasters and web marketers are the big company makers. Facebook, myspace, Google, all of them all were promoted by webmasters and web marketers. We decide who will be famous next. When the talk at DP, BHW and other naughty forums out there start shaping around Facebook like it is starting already, that will be the end for Google.

    I have a 7 year old forum which had up to 3 months ago over 120K pages on Google. Now I have 3K and my site’s earnings dropped from over $5k/month to $0 overnight after many years. I barely get any traffic so Google is useless to me. I have tried everything to get Google to get my pages re-indexed to no avail. I can’t pay the damn mortgage, car payments, nothing. Google took my business from me overnight. Now all you get when you search my forum is some Twitter real time crap. My pages are buried. Nothing black hat here and I am not the only one affected by this caffeine kid crap. People want the archives, not some real time breaking news crap or an unrelated big site like Walmart. Google is supposed to be a search engine!

    Google’s search result are not even relevant anymore. If I were Google I’d walk the fine line. Everybody is talking about FB and they really win on traffic! Google RIP.

    • Chris Crum

      I don’t think I’d go that far. I’m pretty confident that Google will still be here in 3 years.

    • Guest

      Too many people make their online business dependent on search results from Google linking to their sites pages, and getting traffic from the referrals. Being dependent on any one search engine for your livelihood is not a wise business decision unless you are a well-established site with large presence and name recognition. You need to diversify your presence by trying to get better placements in other search engines besides Google.

      google is not the only search engine; I stopped using Google years ago, and use smaller search engines. Better results, less placement crap that I was getting on Google. Google makes great products but for search, results get gamed and are commercial heavy.

  • http://www.richsedmak.com Rich Sedmak

    Awareness, fanning, sharing, taste-based recommendations, all are great, but at the end of the day Facebook is going to need to make money by monetizing transactions more efficiently than anyone else. I think they might run into some hurdles in that area due to a lack of understanding of who within the social graph is trusted, and in what domains they are trusted. I just wrote a blog post about this yesterday, but all these features and plans and “domination” all rest of a single underlying assumption about being about to convert transactions based on social proof (the social graph)

    http://blog.richsedmak.com/2010/04/27/why-facebooks-open-graph-will-fall-short-in-converting-social-proof-sales/

  • Vin

    I think Facebook needs to seize the opportunity that people are really mad at Google for deindexing their sites. I mean, every webmaster forum I visit I see the same complaints. Even Google’s own forum is full of complaints. I think webpronews should cover this story.

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/label?lid=41234c84d9491af8&hl=en

  • http://reface.me dwergs

    We’re offering a free PDF template to business owners so they can make their own decals: facebook-stickers”>Like us on Facebook stickers template.

    • Chris Crum

      Yeah, I guess you don’t really have to wait to get one directly from Facebook.

  • http://blog.web-design-site.ro/ Valentin Secosan

    Facebook has developed a complementary policy comparing what has made Google so far.
    I think people at Google will know how to take safety precautions if there is a direct competition.
    Personally I think that soon we will see some strategic moves on both sides.

    • Chris Crum

      Google seems to be placing a great deal of focus on strategic moves to compete with Apple right now.

  • http://www.sahelmarketing.com Social Media Marketing

    Though Facebook might have more traffic (fans) than Google let’s not forgot that in terms of business that does not mean much. The majority of Facebook users go there to make friends or reconnect with existing friends. It’s a place of human interactions not business.

    Granted business owners can use the platform to connect with potential customers but I still have ea doubt the leads they will get there will be more qualified than what they would get from Google. When it comes to traffic as far as business conversion is concerned quality/relevance is more important than quantity.

    Facebook has some great potential is it learns how to harness it and put it to good use. Following the traditional Search Engine business model will certainly not be a good idea.

  • http://www.superfloorcoat.com Epoxy Floor Coating

    Facebook has the popularity & with their api, you can implement it to your site, or use Facebook itself to promote your web presences. Facebook has the advantage of social media & real time comments. Of course Google has their arsenal of features to display. Bottom line both of these Web Gorillas helps us marketers in the epoxy paint & carpet Woodinville industries.

  • http://www.mind-expanding.com/events/ Jocelyn Myers

    Facebook just changed the face of the internet forever – and maybe modern economics as we know it. We’ve now gone from the corporations controlling push marketing to putting buying information in control of the consumers.

    Yes, Facebook is a corporation. However, should they mess up, another similar entity will take over. Never again will corporations have the control they used to.

    The reality is that Google advertising ISN”T as good as it used to be. My income has dropped significantly. A check in the reports show I am accessing a lion’s share of the traffic so it’s not my advertising per se. Over a couple of years, my campaigns have been optimized and optimized so, again, it’s not just my advertising skills.

    • Chris Crum

      Interesting perspective.

  • http://newwpthemes.net Susan

    Remember when MySpace was hot? Bands, Companies, Organizations…and just about everyone was on it. While Facebook is constructed much better (feeds, news, groups, fan pages, etc…) I do think there will be limits to what can be achieved. Personally, I don’t want to hand over control of any of my websites to Facebook but it may make good sense for someone not technical to create a fan page…but again, that reminds me a bit of MySpace. I think Facebook will grow a bit more but I’ve been noticing more people (family, friends…) are getting more nervous with privacy with facebook over google. I am an everyday Facebook user but I never click on the ads (they are more spammy), don’t trust the applications, visit fan pages once and awhile but really only concentrate on my friends news and really, I don’t use them as a search resource even though Bing is supplying it. I’m still very much a google user and from many users that are not seo, webmasters or technical in our field, I’ve asked the same and many don’t see why they would use facebook much more than socializing… Oh and lets not forget Google’s move on customizing mobile search, especially with their reach on Androids. People are going to be more mobile….

  • http://www.facebook.com/ErnestODellFanPage Ernest O’Dell

    I just recently finished a couple of articles on this issue. I can tell you right now that Facebook is kicking Google’s onions. But, Google doesn’t seem to mind because the both meld so well together. It’s great for business for both of them. This is a win-win for both of them.

  • http://rhettroweb.com RhettRO Creative Web Design

    As competitive as the market is, RhettRO Creative Web Design would display both decals since we have a presence in both places.

    We prefer Google, but so may people have and/or visit Facebook.

  • http://www.bestcasinosinfo.com/ martin

    it is one thing to be a social network and a whole other thing to be google
    hope that they will make it
    google could use competition

  • http://www.webdesignberkshire.net Guest

    Facebook is growing, and growing fast. We’ll assist more and more to big battles between giants.
    Difficult to anticipate the winners. Surprises could come from anywhere.

  • http://www.herbal-supplements-tricajus.com tricajus

    If FB can generate more interest from webmasters and everybody starts talking more about FB and less about Google. Maybe only then shall we see positive changes to Google.

  • http://asaprental.com Brian R

    There was a time when business relied on Yellow Pages for local advertising. The emergence of Google changed things dramatically when it came on the scene. Small business without the massive budget required by Yellow Pages now had an equal footing against giants with large advertising budgets. The non paid Google search results still give good quality results when searching for things. Facebook could overtake but when money gets involved it will be the beginning of the end.

  • http://surflinks.livejournal.com Henry

    I don’t think facebook will outgrow Google going by the way things are presently, Google is primarily used for search, search of products and services and will continue to remain the number one choice for advertisers

  • Mark

    If I were Google, I would be really scared of Facebook putting a “Search The Web” search box on their main page. That will be the end of Google. Doesn’t matter whether Facebook has kids or people using it for purposes other than search. Those are humans with a big mouth which is Google’s biggest nightmare. Many of them have Facebook as their home page. I believe even some of Google’s top dogs showed concern about Facebook. They are all over. I would recommend Google to quit those side stupid projects that will never go anywhere and concentrate on providing good and relevant search results which lately they are lacking on. Yahoo returns more relevant results. They need to get rid of that Caffeine and big site favoritism thing.

  • http://www.cannabag.com Cannabag

    Like… you can only run with “like” for so long before it like becomes annoying. Like… seriously.

    Tough to convert a closed system to an open one. Should be interesting as the latest round of profile changes are pissing people off. One thing it has going for it… the privacy controls are difficult to manage for most so they remain public by default.

    It’s hard to run a business page on Facebook when it only allows for one profile between the organization and whoever runs it on Facebook. A “business only” Facebook page is extremely limited with the exception of running ads… which run about twice the cost of Google’s in my particular case.

    L-o-n-g way to go!

  • http://www.partyeloquence.com/id30.html Party Eloquence

    Google is still number one in our book. Many people are still waiting to see if they are going to charge a fee in July as projected. If facebook charges a fee to us it will not be worth it to pay. The privacy settings are always being adjusted as mentioned in this message thread. I have had to change some of the same settings a few times. Google is supported by advertisers and receives less complaints in that department. Only time will tell. When I get ready to search for something, I always start with Google. I do not trust facebook like that!!

  • http://www.damnedliberal.com Damned Liberal

    I agree with previous comments:
    - People looking for a plumber, information about a car, or reviews of companies or products are going to continue to use google (and yahoo and bing).
    - Facebook users will get tired of all the “Liked” entries.

    Then there’s the matter of personal data accumulation by Facebook and concerns about privacy.
    Perhaps google will introduce a “Love It” button…and Bing a “Bingo” button.
    Google could establish something like “Google Trends”, with a listing of site popularity rankings.
    There are all sorts of possibilities.
    If it becomes a concern to Google, maybe they’ll simply buy Facebook.
    Doesn’t Google have something like $22 billion stuffed in the mattress?

    • Guest

      People were looking for a plumber too on infoseek, webcrawler, Altavista, Yahoo and now Google.

      The problem is you think everybody think like you, will “get tired of the liked entries” like you and that everybody have the privacy concerns you have. The majority of Facebook users couldn’t care less about their privacy or even have a clue there is such an issue with Facebook even if it is staring at them on their faces. Only the people like you on top of Facebook news all day and on these type of sites are the ones concerned. This privacy concern is nothing but a sack full of hot air overblown by the news sites. They are the ones creating this “Facebook users have privacy concerns” issue.

      No, Google can’t buy Facebook. They don’t have the dough for that without getting into some serious trouble (even though you think they do) and Facebook will not accept a buyout. That’s in stone.

    • not google

      Google cannot buy a company that won’t let themselves be bought. Most FBers I know hate Google; they see Google as this evil conglomerate; is it any wonder that so many ex-Google employees are not working for FaceBook? There was something at Google they didn’t like, and FB was an attractive company. And it’s not just the high stock price at Google.

  • http://avazzia-best-devices.com Danielle Parsons

    I just put the Hubze card up on my Fan page. Most of the entrepreneurs in my field are on Facebook. I am still learning how to use all of the apps and spend much more time on FB than Google. Google does have the docs, checkout, and other neat tools for business.

  • http://www.pokerclub.ee/eng Rakeback

    Facebook is definitely a worthy competitor for google. not literally but when we talk about numbers then yes. facebook, like google, has no limits, they can develop new things that keep people there for ages. in addition to that, people can create 3rd party programs and that too keeps others coming back. basically, facebook would have to keep creating new ways to use people to get more people.

  • http://www.zygella.com Guest

    Google is by far the best place to search the web. I am not that sure wether it’s going to change any time soon. I would not compare the too as each site offers something different.

  • http://www.gloriarattanfurniture.com/ Rattan

    Google is too big for facebook to beat…. Although there is nothing sure in this world…, but facebook surely will never find its way to compete with google…, just like turtle that will never run faster than rabbit…
    I use facebook to promote my products and contact other companies who might interest in my products, bot most of them are just playing…
    It would be different if you can place your website on the first page on google search. Surely…, your buyers will find you easily, and they are serious buyers, because they type the keyword that describes your products…
    Applying SEO is more effective than using facebook

    • http://vurl.bz/s/PuJ Guest

      I think you are comparing apples to oranges. Two totally different entities for sure. Google is supposed to be a search engine and Facebook a social media site. I don’t see how you can really compare the two. You can advertise on both, of course but I don’t think when Facebook was created that was what was intended. They have both evolved into media giants and expanded into new areas. If you want to compare traffic and usage just go to Alexa.com and see who is biggest. I bet it is Google without even looking first. I think the two have their good and bad points dependent on what an individual is trying to use them for.

  • http://www.streamline-power.com/voltage_optimisation.html lee

    I think that competition is good for a healthy market.

  • http://www.rufaatrack.com Bobby

    The challenge would be to find the correct Algorithm, to measure the popularity of different pages and it link to real peoples interest, with 400+ millions users it is something possible

  • BlueWolf

    Facebook

    Facebook is definitely a worthy competitor for google. not literally but when we talk about numbers then yes. facebook, like google, has no limits, they can develop new things that keep people there for ages. in addition to that, people can create 3rd party programs and that too keeps others coming back. basically, facebook would have to keep creating new ways to use people to get more people.

  • http://perfectvisualhost.com perfect

    The two sites are different and represent different purpose in people minds. If face book want to compete with Google they can, but definitely not on search.

  • http://www.BuildIdaho.com Boise Idaho

    I seriously doubt that Google will fall to facebook? Does Facebook even make that much revenue?

  • http://www.clementdampal.wordpress.com/ Count Clement II

    Well, we all know that Facebook is now rising from a simple Facemash site represented a Harvard University version of Hot or Not, according to the Harvard Crimson way back on October 28, 2003 to a Titan of social networking world. From that scenario (representation), I can say that it is a worthy competitor to Google.

    We just don’t know in the near future or even after reading this post, the Facebook will increasingly dominates over Google. I mean, sooner or later, they might surprise us.

    Greetings from the Philippines!

    Count Clement II
    www.bestspotsinthephilippines.blogspot.com

  • http://groupemail.gteksoft.com jason

    facebook can become a competitor to google if they can work on strategies like implementing adsense like network and can implement a search in their own website for product and service the followers would be intrested in.

  • http://socialmediadecals.com/ James Bosch

    Just in case you weren’t in the lucky group of people that received decals from facebook, check out socialmediadecals.com. They have decals for facebook, twitter and other social media sites. They can also create custom decals for you!

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