This week at TechCrunch Disrupt, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that search is something that Facebook will do, and that the company already has a team working on it. We talked about what this could mean to the search landscape, in terms of competition with Google here.
There's an interesting report (pdf) out from Greenlight Digital (via AllFacebook) about a survey asking respondents if they would use a Facebook search engine. The survey took responses from 500 people with a wide variety of job titles from all around the world (though the 70% majority were from Europe).
While 500 is nothing compared to the 955 million active users Facebook has, it's still interesting to see the results.
When asked, "If Facebook incorporated its own search engine, would you use it over your preferred search engine?":
27% said, "Maybe, but only if it was better than Google/Bing
26% said simply, "No."
22% said, "Probably not."
12% said, "Probably."
9% said, "Don't know."
5% said, "Definitely."
"These stats therefore suggest that Facebook could capture around 22% of the global search market by
simply launching its own search engine tomorrow morning (the ‘definitely’, ‘probably’, and half of the
‘don’t know’ respondents combined)," says Greenlight COO Andreas Pouros. "It wouldn’t need to be a spectacular engine either, just well integrated into the Facebook experience and generally competent. This 22% market share would make Facebook the second most utilised search engine in every major market except for China, Japan, and Russia, where it would occupy an uncontested third place."
"On the flip side, we found that Google’s own social endeavours with Google+ might be more successful
than most initially speculated," he added. "We found, for instance, that 23% of Google users have been +1’ing listings in Google’s search results, giving Google lots of data about what people like. If you compare this to the 35% of users that we found routinely ‘like’ a brand or company on Facebook, then that’s not significantly more than Google’s social signal collection, particularly as we found that 28% of respondents had no idea what ‘+1’ actually meant, which will invariably decrease rapidly over time."
Apparently a Facebook search engine is going to happen sooner or later, and it could very well be the most interesting thing we've seen come to the space since Google, as it would no doubt be primarily socially driven, and based upon a pretty different set of ranking factors than Google and even Bing. But we won't speculate too much (just a little).