Facebook already has the social media market cornered and is even throwing its hat into the Wall Street arena, but any plans to create a Facebook search engine could be a bone of contention.
Greenlight’s Search & Social Survey 2011-12 asked 500 people their opinion on whether Facebook should start a search engine similar to Google or Bing. Facebook has no current plans to start work on this type of venture, so the survey was more of a “what-if”. 48% of the respondents replied that they dislike the idea of Facebook going into that direction.
It is important to remember that most surveys actually question far more than 500 people. It is also important to note that Greenlight said their participant pool was comprised of people from different professions and walks of life. While this sounds like a broad spectrum, Greenlight doesn’t really go into how they came across all these participants. It is possible they just found them through someone’s Facebook friend’s list!
The survey also found that if Facebook did go into the search engine business, they would be able to corner about 22% of the search engine market globally. While the study’s first set of findings seem to imply that half of consumers wouldn’t like a Facebook search engine, 22% of the American market alone still equates to about 13.5 billion individual searches per year. It’s this very number that could eventually sway Facebook to go into the search engine business.
The study went on to say that Facebook could potentially take 50% of the global search engine market within a few years if they were able to convert Google users. Though this claim seems plausible considering how big Facebook has gotten, looking at the actual numbers show what an uphill battle this would be for Facebook. Google currently has over 65% of the search engine market cornered, so it seems unlikely that any other search engine could take 50% within a few years.
Facebook already has plans to improve its search feature, but only within the confines of Facebook. It will be interesting to see if Facebook takes notice of this survey and chooses to look into the possibility.