During an interview at the Disrupt conference on Tuesday — the first since Facebook’s underwhelming IPO and subsequent stock slide — co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerbergtalked a lot about the social network’s strategy in a number of areas, including a defence of the company’s approach to mobile and an explanation of why the company moved away from HTML5 for its apps.
But while those comments were interesting, I thought the most revealing part of the interview came when Zuckerberg talked about search. Although he didn’t go into a lot of detail, it was clearly intended as a shot across Google’s bow: the underlying message was that Facebook is going to do social search, and soon — and it already has most of the ingredients necessary to mount a significant challenge to the search giant.
In response to a question from TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington about whether the company plans to do anything in the search market, Zuckerberg said that the social network already handles about one billion search queries every day, “and we’re basically not even trying.” For comparison purposes, that’s about 20 times as many as Microsoft’s Bing search engine gets — and about a third of the 3 billion queries that Google handles every day. But it’s not just about volume: the critical factor is that Facebook’s searches are all about finding socially relevant information, from people to brands and related topics. As he put it:
“Search engines are really evolving towards giving you a set of answers… like, I have a specific question, answer this question for me. And when you think about it from that perspective, Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of the questions that people have. That’s one obvious thing that would be interesting for us to do in the future.”
To give just one example, the Facebook CEO said a question might be something like: “What sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York, and liked?” This is the kind of answer that Google simply isn’t very good at providing — or at least, not yet. It can show you sushi restaurants within a few miles of your location, and it can show you ratings from Yelp and other services to help you choose, including reviews from its recently purchased review providers Zagat and Frommer’s, which are starting to show up in the “one box” results for restaurants. But it can’t really show you which ones your friends like, unless they all happen to be on Google+.
Read complete article at Gigaom