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May 16, 2012

Facebook: The next big player in social search?

Research reveals that if Facebook decided to launch a search engine tomorrow, the social network would become a leader in the global search market, giving Google a run for its money.

By Tineka Smith



A study reveals that that Facebook could easily become the second most used search engine in major markets, with the exception of Russia, China, and Japan where it could come in third.

Greenlight’s Search and Social Survey found that if Facebook wanted to start its own search engine, the company could take 22% of the global search market.

Facebook has over 900 million registered users and is the top social website globally. Thus, Facebook could have millions of dedicated users that might be easily influenced to use it as their preferred search engine.

Research revealed that 5% of those surveyed said they would definitely use Facebook if it launched a search engine to compete against Google’s.

12% of respondents said they would probably use Facebook over their preferred search engine and 9% said they didn’t know.

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"These stats therefore suggest Facebook could capture around 22% of the global search market by simply launching its own search engine tomorrow morning (the ‘Definitely’, ‘Probably’, and half of the ‘Don’t know’ respondents combined) says Andreas Pouros, chief operating officer at Greenlight. "It wouldn’t need to be a spectacular engine either, just well integrated into the Facebook experience and generally competent."

However, 26% said they would not use Facebook as a search engine and another 22% said they would probably not use a search engine by Facebook.

Yet, 27% of respondents said they would maybe consider using Facebook if it proved to be better than Google or Bing. If Facebook were able to launch a search engine better than Google it could possibly take above the estimated 22% of the global search engine market.

The research suggests that if Facebook could convert the least loyal Google search engine users, the social network could have the opportunity of occupying 49% of the overall search engine market, rather than just 22%.

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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