Why Google Fears Facebook

By Deane Barker on July 1, 2010

Cashmore: Google building a Facebook rival? Let’s hope so: Clearest description yet of why the next big Internet fight will be between Facebook and Google.

Facebook is gathering masses of data through its recently launched “Likes” feature, which lets Web visitors express interest in a piece of content.

More than 50,000 websites implemented this “Like button” in the week after it launched, providing Facebook with a treasure trove of data about the preferences of Web users. This data could form the basis of a powerful search engine, ranking Web pages by “Likes” rather than the links that Google relies upon.

What’s more, Facebook could serve up different search results to each user based on the preferences of his or her friends.

It gets worse for Google. Facebook’s mountain of personal data could also provide the backbone of an ad network many times more targeted than Google’s keyword-based advertising. If Facebook were to launch both a search engine and ad network, it could put a significant dent in Google’s more than $23 billion in annual revenue.

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