Google and the Rise of Facebook

In 2007 I said that Facebook would be the home page for your personal brand. Now it seems that Facebook is officially setting out to become your homepage period.

The other day I logged into Facebook and noticed a new message at the top of the screen. I was presented with a simple way to make Facebook my homepage so that I could see “what’s happening with friends as soon as I opened my browser.”  And, I’m not the only one.

Why am I taking the time to let you know that Facebook is making it easy for you to drag and drop Facebook to your home button?

Facebook started out as a social network, but it is officially growing into a full-fledged personal OS, where friends and experiences are interconnected inside and outside of Facebook. And, at the center of everything is you. Facebook is a platform where relationships create the construct for the 3C’s of information commerce. The acts of sharing and consuming content in social media represent the social dealings between people and set the stage for interaction and education.But, it is the platform that offers a sandbox for development and also a solid foundation for social architecture. It is the sites that feature Facebook interconnects that weave the fabrics of relationships and the ties and interests that bind us.

More than one million websites have integrated with Facebook Platform.

150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month.

Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have integrated with Facebook.

The more we interact with Facebook around the Web through Likes, Shares, and Comments, the more we feed the social effect and the greater the personalization inside Facebook and within its partner sites.

Indeed, according to comScore, Facebook traffic soared by 55.2% hitting 151.1 million in October 2010, up from 97.4 visitors at the same time last year. It’s also important to note that Facebook was home to 300 million active denizens last year and now it has a population of more than 550 million. While Google is earning 173.3 million visits in the U.S., Facebook’s trajectory is only gaining in mass and force. And it’s only gaining momentum…

- 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day

- The average user has 130 friends

- People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

Don’t Google Me, Facebook Me

Over the years, Google has missed steps to foster a social network of its own, perhaps focusing on a culture of code rather than human culture and behavior. What lies ahead is a quiet war where  your social graph is at stake. Facebook is taking large steps to move you away from Google and toward the social web.  As this new “homepage” request rolls out to active users worldwide, we will see many follow Facebook’s instruction to now make the social graph the starting point to their online experience each and every time they fire up their browser. Doing so changes behavior and teaches us that we can indeed get a little help from our friends by leaning on them for empowerment, entertainment, and enlightenment.

We don’t take to Google for insight, we  now take to the stream…

What’s materializing before us may in fact represent the beginning of the end of the Google era of Web domination. This is the rise of the Facebook economy (F-commerce) where commerce represents the currency of information and engagement and the net worth of the relationships we nurture. While it doesn’t beat the drum in its march toward online supremacy, Facebook is in fact setting out to help you improve the way you communicate, discover, and share. Since you are at the center of the social egosystem, Facebook is designing products and services that make managing and interacting with your social graph more efficient.

From Gmail to Facebook.com > We now have a new messaging platform on its way to us with @facebook.com email addresses yours for the taking. It changes how we think about messages and exchanges and may in fact, encourage us to follow Zuckerberg’s vision away from the traditional inbox. By integrating messaging into one system that connects through multiple clients and devices, Facebook also starts to minimize the value of Google Talk. Does Google turn its 193 million Gmail users out of the inbox and toward a social network…something like say, GoogleMe? Now with its social hooks in MySpace, Google must revisit its human algorithm.

From Google.com to Facebook search > The future of search is social and we are already investing in social media optimization (SMO) in addition to SEO. We can’t underestimate Facebook search. Google has long dominated search and the behemoth of a company is showing its age and its weaknesses. Even though Google is experimenting with integrating social into traditional search results, its algorithm is in dire need of a human touch – a human algorithm. At the same time, Facebook is slowly but surely improving its search feature. What used to simply display results within the network, now starts to feature results from around the Web where the displayed list is curated by the actions of your friends – as part of the platform. This will only improve and become more substantial in the coming months.

From Google Voice to Facebook + Skype > Google Voice is a valuable service that combines voice, Web, and email. While it’s not getting thunderous roars of attention, Skype and Facebook are introducing the ability to call friends directly from the News Feed. As this integration becomes seamless and demand for such a service gains awareness and pervasiveness, Facebook and Skype will rival Google Voice one day.

From Google Latitude to Facebook Places > Google is experimenting with geo location, but Facebook Places is gaining mass adoption. Competing for attention online and offline is helping Facebook merge experiences and channel the activity into the News Feed.

From Google Groups to Facebook Groups > Google Groups was once one of the Web greatest hosts for contextual networks, groups organized by interests, events, and causes. Now with the release of the new and improved Facebook Groups, people are forming nicheworks, networks within networks. Their focused activity is enhanced by a dedicated group framework that fosters collaboration and conversation whether the group unites relationships or actions linked by strong, weak, or temporary ties.

From Google Docs to Facebook + Microsoft Office > Google Docs are the industry standard for Web collaboration around documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms and artistic canvases. While the world was abuzz with Facebook’s messaging service, Microsoft introduced Office Web Apps as part of the new messaging system. The technology alliance allows people to view Word, Excel and PowerPoint attachments with the Office Web Apps directly in Facebook. It just the beginning of something more productive…

Twitter Me This…The Facebook Generation

And what of Twitter? I believe it is the moon that orbits a networked planet. It turns the tides. It defines its rotation.

Twitter is your window to relevance, but Facebook is your homepage for the social Web.

According to recent data released by Hitwise, Facebook accounts for 25% of all page views in the U.S. And it’s only going to skyrocket as we interact with content and one another through the Facebook platform. Depending on which data we review, Google is either in Facebook’s rearview mirror or in its sights. Hitwise claims Facebook has already surpassed Google in terms of views. Earlier we stated that comScore has Facebook nipping at Google’s heels. Either way, it’s just a matter of time until Facebook traffic surpasses Google with tenable data supporting the historic milestone.

We are witnessing the dawn of the social consumer and their network of preference for the immediate future is Facebook.

As I’ve previously observed, the medium is no longer just the message. In social, the medium is the platform and as such, people now represent both the medium and the message where reach is defined by a blending of the social graph, the context of the story and the expansion and contraction of strong, weak, and temporary connections. The Facebook platform serves as the foundation for our Social OS and in turn, we are its driving force. With every action, we trigger an equal and opposite reaction. With our relationships serving as Facebook’s construct, we are realizing that the social graph effect may in fact, spark greater volumes of reaction than Google, or any of us, may have anticipated. Welcome to the Facebook generation…the question is, will you call Facebook home?

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook
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Image Source: Shutterstock (Edited)

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  • Vb

    Great article Brian.

    What do you think about Rockmelt?

    Do you also anticipate From Google Chrome-Firefox to Rockmelt or will Rockmelt take most of its market share from IE?

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Hello…Rockmelt is interesting indeed. I’m still thinking about its total potential.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Hello…Rockmelt is interesting indeed. I’m still thinking about its total potential.

  • http://www.wickedinnovations.com/ Jeorge Peter

    that’s how far facebook has come, but somewhat out powering google? Maybe not quite.

  • Bajs

    Having a facebook list is almost like having a aweber list  http://aweber.com/?364249

  • http://www.stealthmode.com hardaway

    Twitter is my home page. Literally. From there I go to FB. I forgot about Google until you mentioned it:-) Except for Google Docs, which is my hard drive. Thanks for causing me to think about how I use the web.

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Well said Francine…I find that Twitter is indeed my window to relevance, both earning and exhibiting it

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  • DaniH

    I found the stats that you listed very interesting! It’s crazy how much Facebook has grown just in the past year. Facebook has been known to create many opportunities, but at the same time, many consequences to its public as well. I love having Facebook because it has helped me keep in contact with my friends that I no longer live in the same state with. However, I heard just the other day of a police officer being fired from his job because of some pictures that were posted of him on Facebook. Although Facebook can help people keep in contact, it can also kill a person’s career or chance at a career. I have been told that the first place that future employers look up a person is on their Facebook. Regardless, I see Facebook growing drastically in the next year.

    It seems as though the “creator” of Facebook continues to expand his successful thinking. Getting users to select Facebook as their homepage will bring in more competition for advertising since companies will want to have ads on this popular website. As far as competition with Google goes, I don’t think that Facebook is replacing Google; Google just isn’t the only Web dominator anymore. Comparing the two, though, is hard to do since Facebook is a search engine for people, groups, clubs, and some companies, while Google is a search engine for, well, everything else.

  • http://twitter.com/Galactic Cristian Gonzales

    I’d be more trusting and willing to have Facebook be my ‘everything OS’ if it wasn’t for the fact that it acts like a big digital bully nowadays. It wants to own everything, but isn’t willing to play fair. The fact that it also is more than willing to give up practically every single bit of information for a price also turns me off. Then again, ‘privacy’ is a lost notion in the world of social nowadays.

    Just as consumers have various choices when it comes to what we wear, eat, etc.—I’ll stick to having choices when it comes to my social engagement. I refuse to let Facebook become my everything.

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  • http://artandphotosbybuck.blogspot.com Buck

    The home page button is probably there because people stopped using facebook. I know I’m bored of it. I used to get a lot of updates in new info from friends. Now most of my friends are not active on facebook. So I moved on to twitter for the most part.

  • Devin De Roon

    I was one of the last of my friends to add Facebook. I admit I do check it multiple times throughout the day, but only for a quick minute or so and then I am done with it. I am not one of those people who spends multiple hours on Facebook. I feel like that is a waste of time that is not needed.

  • Jordan Parsons

    As I was reading the comments on the article I noticed several people mention Facebook no longer serving a purpose after they graduated from college. I am a Junior and the thought of deleting my Facebook after graduating college has not crossed my mind, rather, “re-integrating” it to fit my life after college. I plan to utilize all Facebook has to offer, including Facebook+Microsoft Office, which before reading this article I knew nothing about. I think Facebook is great and if utilized to its full potential could be very helpful in college and after-college life.
    Thanks for the article,

    Jordan Parsons
    Oklahoma State University
    School of Media and Strategic Communications

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Great comment Jordan.

    • Chelsea McGuire

      Good points Jordon. But I do believe there is Facebook life after college. In fact I believe it will help with the transition. I have many friends that have graduated that I keep in touch with through Facebook. With this busy world, it is sad to say, but I forget to pick up the phone and call my friends that have moved away, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know how they are doing in the “real world.”
      I have a friend that graduated last May that doesn’t have internet (starter jobs will do that to you) and she feels very disconnected and lonely without Facebook. This is a scary, but also exciting truth about how the evolution of social media is going. We are depending on it for communication because it’s convent.
      Also, my co-workers from my old internship are friends of mine on FB and it allows them to keep in touch and see how I’m doing in school. They may hire me again, so this is a good contact.
      Facebook has changed since I entered college. You know longer have to have a valid school email address to enter. I believe with this change and all the other changes that have been stated above, Facebook benefits many people in different areas of the life cycle.

      Chelsea McGuire
      Oklahoma State University
      School of Media and Strategic Communications

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  • KT

    I just wanted to leave some comments on my feelings on what you wrote. While I agree with all that you said (how could I not?) about how Facebook is advancing and integrating and thus taking over, I am one of the users that will be resisting it all. Don’t get me wrong, I like my FB and check it daily (ok, usually several times a day), but I my other internet operations separate. I use the email messaging on FB for quick blurps to people that I do not have any real need or want for their personal email addresses (ie. fellow classmates, co-workers, in-laws, etc.). I like my personal e-mail account to send REAL emails, documents, pictures, etc. It has a much better address book and success rate of adding attachments (and usually no size restrictions). I use the I.M. on FB (when it works) because it is convenient, but I don’t like it. If I had another option of I.M. that I knew all my close friends and family were on I would use it instead. I also like the Google search engine. Facebook’s search options for finding other members is mediocre at best, I can’t see them figuring out a REAL search engine anytime soon. I know these are minor complaints that can be worked out, I am sure, but to me it is the little things that make my internet experience worth while.
    Katherine Sutherland
    Oklahoma State University
    School of Arts & Sciences

  • Madison

    Interesting thoughts! I find it hard to believe that 50% of active Facebook users log in on any given day. Honestly, I log into Facebook multiple times per hour and I would say the same trend goes for 90% of my 1000 friends. I would also argue that the average friend count is more than 130. I took a random sample of my friend’s friend counts and the average came to 950. I wouldn’t expect the overall average of Facebook users to be that high but certainly higher than 130.

    Your article opened my eyes to all of the innovative ideas that Facebook has planned. Between the Microsoft apps that allow the world to see documents and spreadsheets to Facebook email, corporate America could one day rely completely on Facebook to carry out business. I used to consider Facebook as a tool for keeping up with friends and creeping on people who I wasn’t friends with, but now it is phenomenon that is taking over our lives and is becoming an all-in-one source for personal and professional business.

    Great thought-provoking article!!

    Madison Longust
    Oklahoma State University
    School of Media and Strategic Communications

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  • Rylie

    This is a great article. When I first got my Facebook, back in high school, it was the new craze and it still wasn’t open to people who weren’t college students and finally they allowed anyone to join so I did. The only reason I got a Facebook and still have a Facebook is to keep up with old friends and family. Also, I really like that I can put pictures of and my family can see them. Other than that, I don’t use it. I hardly ever update my status and very rarely comment on others. I can totally see where Google isn’t getting as much attention as it used to. Facebook is the top when it comes to the Social Media world. There’s no denying that. Everyone use’s Facebook for business as well personal reasons. It’s intriguing to see where this is all going.

    Rylie Burns
    Oklahoma State University
    School of Media and Strategic Communications

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  • Paige Pantlik

    Paige Pantlik

    I personally use Facebook quite oftenn but I don’t necesarily think that it’s because I “don’t have a life.” I think it’s just the opposite, I have friends and family who live far away from me and it makes me feel closer to them when I can see what they are doing and what is going on with their lives. I think that when I graduate from college and I have a family I will use it less but now it is a great tool so that you can see what kind of events and opportunities are happening around you.
    My college advisers have a facebook page and they will update news with enrollment and class information. It is also nice when my professors have facebooks because that way I can sometimes get responses faster than through e-mail.
    I understand that some people go overboard on facebook and they use it as a distraction, but I have found much greater uses for this social networking sie.

    Paige Pantlik
    Oklahoma State University
    Strategic Communications

  • Megan

    I can’t say that I could ever foresee facebook knocking out Google completely. Google is such a large search engine used by millions of people a day. Although I am learning a ton of information about the importance of facebook in the business world, I understand that it is hard for people to adapt to these changes.

    I think this article is great but a lot of these innovations seem far-fetched. I’m not sure that I’m willing to give up my e-mail address to have an @facebook.com e-mail address. For instance, my grandmother has e-mail. She uses it to keep in touch with her children, grandchildren, and cousins. She is 79 years old and will never get a facebook. I understand these changes might come after her time but there will be other people her age who won’t be willing to change their ways either. However, I do think the facebook plus skype and the facebook plus microsoft office would be great.

    Interesting thoughts though. I’m glad I get to live through this technology crazy time.

    Megan Wright
    Strategic Communications
    Oklahoma State University

  • Melissaabrandt

    wow that was a brilliant commentary

    • http://www.briansolis.com briansolis

      Wow. thank you.

  • Melissaabrandt

    wow that was a brilliant commentary

  • http://www.kooldesignmaker.com Custom Logo Design

    Nice to see such an interesting and informative topic..
    average internet users don’t have idea about the immense diversification strategies of the facebook and they gonna really surprised to see facebook replacing need for Google….it is true and your article has deep impact.
    But!!!!
    Google is the Ruler…they are not simply relaying on what Google is..they are also diversifying with great pace…
    the enhancements in Google webmaster tools,Google based web browser,and now even the Chrome OS i am really a fan of Google team and wish i could be the part of them..

  • Joshua Coffman

    Great Article and very interesting. It almost seems that the future of the web is heading towards two possible courses. Either Facebook and Google will begin a full scale cyber war for web dominance or they will eventually merge and dominate every aspect of our lives. I don’t use facebook nearly as much as I did my first year of college when I wanted to keep in touch with high school friends.

    One dark side of facebook is the addiction I’ve seen people have to it, especially among older people (late adopters). I grew up with facebook and I never lost touch with my friends. However I know several people in the 30-40 year old range that have had serious marriage problems due to facebook. They basically became facebook junkies constantly talking to and looking for old friends and of course they eventually run into exes on facebook and then its all down hill from there.

    Yes facebook does seem to be forcefully integrating itself in our lives but one cool thing I heard recently is that the degree of separation (the kevin bacon factor) in the US is now 3 people instead of 7 because of facebook.

  • Joshua Coffman

    Joshua Coffman
    Strategic Communications
    Oklahoma State University

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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