It seems like Facebook and social networking has been around forever. Over 20% of the Australian population were never born into a world without the Internet. Accepting friend requests, commenting on posts and sharing funny cat videos consumes our day. But what does the future hold for Facebook?
Since its conception in 2004, Facebook has evolved into more than just an online community in which we keep in touch with friends and loved ones. It's our family photo album, important events calendar and a place to tag friends in hilarious memes. But wait, now it's even more than that; Facebook has a data index of over one trillion connections. What does that mean? Its index of data is larger than any web search engine, including Google.
CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has been dropping hints left, right and centre about the future prospects of his company. Research groups are working on artificial intelligence and understanding how everything on Facebook is connected. The long-term goal is to streamline a search process in which users have access to anything they've posted over the lifetime of their account. This process will keep the user in the application for longer, thereby removing the need to exit and conduct an external search.
Even more, analysts warn that Facebook is stealing business from Google in online advertising at a growing rate. Google has never had to worry about competition closing in on them in the past, but times have changed. The more content that publishers, companies and everyday people post within Facebook, the less need to search the web via Google.
Of course it doesn't seem that Facebook is a complete substitute for Google, right now…
But Facebook has acquired 'The Find’; a search-engine focused on shopping and retailer comparisons. The Find rivals Google's Pinterest head on. All this just makes it more obvious that Facebook has already started to give Google a run for its money.
When we look at the future of both Facebook and Google, we see some distinct differences. Facebook is getting involved in artificial intelligence integrated social networking, data mining and search. Google however, has set its sights on a wider range of projects that include:
- Providing wireless Internet connections to remote communities
- Planning and building wind turbines suspended in the air
- Wearable technology that displays information in a smart-phone like format, picking up where Google Glass left off
Both multinational corporations dominate the Internet market, with significant revenue generated from online advertising. The two now have the difficult task of attempting to anticipate each other’s moves. Who can really tell what the future holds in this anything-can-happen market.