Michael Arrington asked Mark Zuckerberg some really interesting questions at Techcrunch Disrupt 2012. Mark made great effort to inform the world that mobile is at the very centre of Facebook’s strategy. Mark talking so passionately about mobile will obviously help $FB stock (see screenshot below) and will put all shareholders at ease.
Over the years the corporate communication of Facebook has been purely focused on users and Zuckerberg’s iconic “we want to make the world a more open and connected place” has been at the very center of their mission statement. Mark also puts a lot of emphasis on users by continually stating that Facebook wants to look after its users. However, that has changed, now if you listen to Zuckerberg’s comments closely he is putting more emphasis on shareholders. During the 30 minutes chat, Zuckerberg’s every comment was tactfully geared to gain the trust of shareholders and to paint a lucrative future for Facebook. In short he made his case by:
1. Making a case for mobile by painting it as a hugely lucrative ad revenue.
2. Taking a huge risk by publicly confirming that Facebook will enter the search market. Yet another attempt to get shareholders fired up about a new revenue stream.
Facebook entering the search market is very interesting, lets put this in perspective. Google revenues topped $10 billion for the second quarter in a row, Google’s search revenue is so big that it allows it to venture into any market. Search is big money and mobile search is going to be a even bigger. Facebook entering this market means big bucks for shareholders if all goes well.
So where is Facebook at in terms of search right now? Based on Mark Zuckerberg’s comments there are over one billion search queries on Facebook each day. That is a lot of queries by any measure particularly for a platform that isn’t a search engine at the core. To my surprise, Zuckerberg came clean and confirmed that Facebook is indeed working on a search engine and has dedicated a team to work on this. Now this is not news because delivering results for one billion queries a day does need an engineering team any way but the most interesting part was his remarks about the way he sees the future of search and his vision will scare the hell out of Google.
Based on his remarks, it is very clear that he believes the future of search is not about a set of relevant results but about answering specific questions. His example query is “Which sushi restaurant did my friends go to and liked in the last six months?”. That is the type of question that a lot of people will start asking as search behaviour evolves due to nature of the social web. More importantly that is the type of question that Google will not be able to answer because it doesn’t have access to Social Graph and Google+ isn’t a huge hit, not now anyway.
So there you have it, Facebook will essentially turn into one of the biggest “search on the go” companies in the world if they execute this well. Not really sure how that will impact their integration with Android though as Google might see this as a big threat to their interests.
You can watch the entire fireside chat below: