A new survey finds 48 percent of respondents dislike the idea of Facebook launching its own search engine to directly compete with Google and Bing. The same survey also found Facebook could potentially capture 22 percent of the global search market.
Yes, Facebook is planning to improve its search engine so Facebook users can more easily find shared or liked articles, videos and status updates. However, Facebook has yet to show any public interest in crawling and indexing the entire web with a traditional information retrieval search engine.
If Greenlight’s Search & Social Survey 2011-12 survey of 500 people (comprised of “students, law enforcement professionals, medical staff, accountants, lawyers, the unemployed, and everyone in between” according to the press release) is any indication, Facebook might want to hold off until the public is a bit more receptive.
Greenlight, a digital marketing agency based in London, asked users if they would use a future Facebook search engine. Twenty-six percent said “no”; in total, 48 percent said either “no” or “probably not.” Only 5 percent said they definitely would be in favor of a Google rival from Facebook; in total, 17 percent said either “definitely” or “probably.”
What if Facebook’s search engine were better than Google or Bing? If that were the case, then “maybe” 27 percent would consider using Facebook, according to Greenlight.
Still, Greenlight says if Facebook launches its own search engine, it could potentially grab 22 percent of the global search market share and become the second most used search engine in every major market except for China, Japan, and Russia, where it would rank third.
"It wouldn't need to be a spectacular engine either, just well integrated into the Facebook experience and generally competent,” said Greenlight Chief Operating Officer Andreas Pouros.
He also suggested Facebook could push its market share to 50 percent within a few years by converting Google users. Easier said than done. Facebook at last count has more than 845 million users, but even Google’s biggest rival Bing has yet to make a dent in Google’s market share, which as of last month stands at 66.5 percent in the U.S.
Despite not having a true web search engine, 336 million searches were conducted on Facebook in February, which was good for ninth place in the U.S., behind Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL, eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon, according to comScore.
One other interesting finding from the search and social survey is that 23 percent of Google users have been +1'ing listings in Google's search results (on Facebook, 35 percent of users “routinely” Like a brand or company). What’s more astounding: 28 percent of respondents had absolutely no idea that a +1 button is to Google what the Like button is to Facebook.