The tech media has been getting pretty excited about the prospect of Facebook getting into the search business. I often wonder about these tech media folks calling themselves journalists, they act a lot more like cheerleaders, than real journalists trying to ask questions about the companies, and their products, in the tech space. And Facebook is often the object of their admiration, although the dismal performance of the Facebook stock since it went public, has cooled some of their undying love.
As a public company, Facebook has really struggled to understand that the hype that helped them get tons of cash from Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors, doesn't work as well with stock market investors. Many investors clearly remember the dot-com era, and how much companies got hyped up on hot air, and then came crashing down during the dot-bomb era. Facebook's hints at entering the search business, seems to be a lot more about hot air hype to try and prop the companies failing stock, than a real catalyst for growth.
Google is the dominant player in the search business, has been for many years, and will continue to be. Their primary focus is on search, they know it inside out. On the other hand there are plenty of signs that Facebook doesn't stand a chance of eating into Google's search market share.
One of the key reasons to be skeptical is Microsoft's Bing search engine. Bing is able to use data from Facebook, and Twitter, yet with all those social signals, has not been able to prove that their search results are better than Google's. Nor has Bing been able to grab any search market share from Google. If the information was so helpful for search why hasn't it helped Bing? The simple answer is that social signals coming from Facebook aren't that important to getting better search results, or being better for advertisers.
Folks go to Facebook to gossip with their friends and family, not to be the target of marketers, or when they are considering buying something.
When someone is considering buying something, Google is one of the first places they go, in order to research the product they are interested in buying, find prices, and where they can go to buy. And that is a great place to advertise, Google knows this, as do the advertisers that have made Google a cash making machine.
Sure it sounds good on paper for Facebook to get into the search business, but the realistic potential of them being able to be effective in their efforts is dim. This is more like grasping at something to hype up their stock. With Facebook's brutal stock performance, the morale at the company has to be down. The next step will be a lot of key people will leave, these people want the stock to make them a lot of money. But the way the stock has been pummeled so far, it is getting harder to believe the stock will make them tons of cash, while there are greener looking pastures elsewhere.
This looks more like a Hail Mary pass, and we all know the teams that attempt those kinds of passes are losing, and making a desperate attempt to pull off a miracle.