Photo: By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
At this point it’s pretty clear that another search engine isn’t going to kill Google.Microsoft has done just about all it can to fight Google and despite its best efforts, Google is still strong with ~67% of the U.S. desktop search market and ~90% of the mobile search market.
If anything is going to displace Google as our number one entry point to the web it’s going to be something totally different than traditional search. It will be something like Siri, or Apple’s app store. It will be something that fundamentally alters the way we interact with the Internet.
So, when Facebook entered the search business the market pretty much shrugged. Years ago, this might have been a big concern for Google. After all, the notion of social search sounds disruptive. Aren’t human-powered search results more powerful than random algorithmic search results? Not really.
Facebook’s information base is so narrow that it’s not a threat to Google.
Still, on Google’s earnings call, an analyst asked CEO Larry Page for his thoughts on “graphical search,” which was a bungling of Facebook’s name for its search engine, “Graph Search.” Here’s Page’s response via Seeking Alpha. It’s very short, it’s very subtle, but it’s spot-on:
I think you are asking about graph search, which was recently announced. I think that when [talking] about search, our mission has been to organise the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful. We have been at that for quite a while and made investments in all sorts of areas, like Maps, as I just mentioned which turned out to be really important. That’s the way we think about. There is knowledge search, there is all sorts of investments we have made, gathering different kinds of data and making sure we have everyone’s data and we will continue to do that. That business has change a lot.
Only 10 years ago, what you though Google should do, is almost unrecognizable compared to what it does now and the number of things that it understands. So we see just tremendous opportunity to make better products for users that really understand their needs and really grow that opportunity and if you look at voice, for example, which we have also made huge investment in, the importance of that to mobile for finding things. I mentioned you can ask Google where the nearest gas station is on your phone while you are driving on your phones and it does all this work perfectly. So I think we see that as just all sorts of aspects on those problem and we have been very focused on that.
[Google Now] — there is another great example. There is tremendous innovation there. It is actually answering your question before you even think to have the question and that’s pretty incredible. I am super excited about that, so I feel very confident of our core business of organising things, finding things, getting people information. I couldn’t be more excited about that. Our next question?
It’s so subtle you could miss it. But listening to the call last night it came through loud and clear.
The message is this: We have been working on search for 15 years. We have an incredibly sophisticated collection of data. We make investments in search that are unfathomable to other companies. We send cars around the world just to see what the world looks like! Do you think anyone else is crazy enough to do that? We are now delivering answers before you even ask questions. 10 years ago that was unthinkable. And in 10 years, what we’re doing will be mind-blowing. So, Facebook, good luck with your search engine! You want to invest billions to tackle this problem? Because that’s what it will take. And even then you won’t be anywhere near us.