Facebook already has a great corner of the market when it comes to social networking, and so far there’s no sign of that progress slowing down. In fact, the company just took another step forward by unveiling its Facebook Connect application, which allows friends to interact with and keep track of each other while visiting other Web sites. Google isn’t laughing.
Search is obviously one of the top things people do when they go online, but will it always be so ubiquitous? A day may come when people log in to check their Facebook profile for information, communication and entertainment more than they go to a search engine. After all, that network of friends you built would supposedly be more reliable than information presented by a bunch of strangers on other Web sites, right? At least if your network is large enough.
But for that to happen, Facebook needs to expand its content base, and an easy way to do that (relatively speaking) is by piggybacking on the content from other content creators. Oh, and it has to add value for users somewhere along in the process too, or they’ll emigrate out of Facebook as quickly as they did from Friendster.
According to Facebook, “You won’t have to create separate accounts for every Web site, just use your Facebook login wherever Connect is available.”
Google isn’t taking the threat lightly, and has opened its Google Friend Connect platform to public beta. The threat to the throne is very real, as people generally look for additional content and functionality from where they’re already comfortable. If Facebook is able to incorporate all of that functionality into its site while continuing the fun interaction with friends they’ll have a compelling option to dig into Google’s market share.
Just think of all the advertising dollars Facebook could bring in with so many contact points facing its users on a daily basis. And, all of the demographic information aggregated has to be phenomenal. Think of being able to tell companies how many users have particular interests, and how many of their friends share those interests from a single application such as the Likeness Quiz. The potential for marketing is an elephant in the room, and it isn’t so reliant on contextual text ads.