The Next Google?

by Ben Perreira

I have this crazy idea that a new Google is coming. What would you get if you created a hub for almost all activity on the internet? In 2005 this was Google. In 2012, this is Facebook.

Yes, Facebook could very well be the next Google. Here’s why:

  • Google is trying to be like Facebook. Google+ is Google’s attempt to reverse engineer Facebook. Google+ is to social networking what Budweiser’s Shock Top is to true craft beer – astroturf. Forcing users to accept new features isn’t something Google has been (or will be) successful at doing. Only Facebook can do that. If Google is trying to be Facebook, something nebulous and at the very least more difficult to scale than AdWords, there is a ton of untapped value awaiting the Zuck’s company.
  • Facebook sucks you in and keeps you in. From emerging apps like Branch Out to possible future partnerships with VEVO, Facebook is doing everything it can to keep us on Facebook.com. The Facebook search bar already pulls results from a user’s friends plus the web through its partnership with Bing. Who says this feature will not become even more robust in the near future?
  • Filter bubbles. All of our search results are tailored to our individual behaviors already. As long of Facebook users don’t care that Google, Facebook and any other website worth its weight in VC cash filters search results, the world will continue to turn. As someone recently said (and I wish I could remember who), “If the internet wasn’t tailored to our individual interests, it would look like the USA Today.”
  • Mobile. Facebook’s mobile apps for iPhone, Android and iPad are among the most popular for each platform. You can be sure their Windows Phone app is going to be wildly popular as well. Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram means the company is serious about mobile (of course), but more importantly means Google will be cut out of a large amount of mobile traffic with search directly through Facebook with its new user/image bank (IG) adding to the query database.
  • Privacy. Google likely spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year on lawyers to defend privacy complaints. Facebook has been proactive with privacy issues, plus it doesn’t matter as much because people love it like…
  • Crack. People are addicted to Facebook. This comic from The Oatmeal sums it up well. A week ago people were complaining that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram would ruin Instagram, or both (??). Today, with a mountain of acquisition documents still being unloaded onto the desks of SEC officials, few remember who bought who, and for how much. More filters and sharing capabilities? Yes, please!

Sure, $100B is a rather large valuation, but the kids in Palo Alto are onto something. I just hope they get rid of the Yahoo and Washington Post reader apps. In the meantime, I’m staying tuned.

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