Perhaps the biggest threat to Google is that people who want to find things (to buy) on the Internet will stop using search and start using apps from Apple’s app store.
Why use Google to search for a local mover when there’s a Yelp app?
This is one reason Google is happy to give mobile device makers its Android operating system for free: to make sure a big portion of the people searching for apps instead of searching for Web pages use Google’s Android app store.
But what if people stop using only Apple and Google’s app stores to find their mobile apps? What if they start discovering and installing apps based on their friends’ recommendations?
That’s the threat Facebook presented to Apple and Google when Facebook head of mobile Erick Tseng announced yesterday Facebook would bring “the goodness of the open graph” and “Like” buttons to the mobile Web and mobile apps.
According to VentureBeat, Erick said that “part of a mobile platform strategy could include making app discovery and distribution more social.”
The good news for Apple and Google? Developers constantly complain that Facebook isn’t very good at featuring their apps. Apple, which will even create commercials around third-party products, is much better, they say. The other good news is that Facebook isn’t very good at search yet.
The bad news? Facebook might not need to be good at search. Facebook is very good at sending traffic from its users’ News Feeds to Web sites that have “Like” buttons. It could be as good at sending users from the Facebook News Feed to apps integrated with the social graph.