Google, Facebook battle for 'future of the Web'

Could Google's Achilles heel be showing as Facebook teams up with Microsoft?

Microsoft advanced its partnership with Facebook this week, a move that could be the biggest threat to Google's search standing yet.

Microsoft and Facebook announced that they're teaming up to make Internet searching more social. Now when someone uses Bing's search engine to look for a new car or a book, she can see which ones her friends liked. Searchers now are able to more easily get their friends' take before they make their own decisions.

While industry watchers said this was an interesting move for search, it also holds big implications for Google. What's notable is that Facebook turned to Microsoft for this deal and not to the market leader, Google.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the press conference on the Microsoft campus Wednesday, said there was a specific reason he wanted to go with Bing.

"They really are the underdog here," Zuckerberg said. "They're incentivized to go out and innovate. They have all these smart people and are trying to do all these new things."

Google, not surprisingly, threw off any far-reaching implications and said it likes the challenge.

"We welcome competition that helps deliver useful information to users and expands user choice," said Gabriel Stricker, a Google spokesman, in an email to Computerworld. "Having great competitors is a huge benefit to us and everyone in the search space. It makes us all work harder, and at the end of the day our users benefit from that."

But industry analysts said this Microsoft-Facebook partnership could spell trouble for Google, despite the fact that the search giant accounted for 72.15% of all U.S. searches last month. Both Microsoft and Yahoo have thrown stones at Google, but nothing has yet chipped its hefty search lead.

So, if Microsoft's teaming with Yahoo, which is in second place to Google in search share, couldn't rattle Google, why might this new partnership have Google executives looking nervously over their shoulder?

"Let's face it, Bing has been a big disappointment, but this could act as a differentiator," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group Research. "People prefer Google to Microsoft, but they prefer Facebook to Google. If the partnership makes Facebooking better, then it could pull users away from Google."

In other words, a major social network, like Facebook, could end up being Google's Achilles' heel.

Ray Valdes, an analyst with Gartner, said the partnership announcement was less about Facebook and Microsoft than it was about Facebook versus Google.

"The real importance of [this week's] announcement is that it highlights the growing strategic conflict between Facebook and Google," Valdes said. "There is a battle for the future of the Web, and it is not about search engines, but about the social Web. The competition is between the new and the old -- between Facebook as the early leader in the social Web, and Google as the dominant player in the content Web. Everyone else, such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter , will play a secondary role, and will start lining up on one side or the other."

And what could make this situation more interesting is that Google is reportedly working on launching its own social network. Rumored to be dubbed, Google Me , the social network is considered to be Google's shot at creating a Facebook killer.

Google hasn't had a lot of luck in the social networking arena. Its Google Wave social networking service was shut down in August and reviews of its Google Buzz were lackluster. But the company has learned from its failures and may be ready to try to snare some of those advertising dollars away from Facebook.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said there's a big battle brewing between Google and Facebook, and Microsoft may have found a way to use that conflict to chip away at Google's massive market lead.

"[The new partnership] moves some searches from Google to Bing," he added. "For major Facebook users, I believe 'social search' is attractive, and many are likely to switch to Bing for all searches ... Not only does [Google] lose users, but they lose young users."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftinternetGoogleFacebookNetworkingsearch enginese-commerceInternet SearchWeb 2.0 and Web Apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?