Could Facebook surpass Google? Not with Twitter around

Could Facebook surpass Google? Not with Twitter around

Summary: An analyst report this morning predicts that Facebook - which has been reporting impressive growth numbers - could surpass Google in traffic within the next 2-3 years. That's a prediction that could use a few asterisks.

SHARE:

An analyst report this morning predicts that Facebook - which has been reporting impressive growth numbers - could surpass Google in traffic within the next 2-3 years. That's a prediction that could use a few asterisks.

The report - issued by analyst Ross Sandler of RBC and reported on Silicon Alley Insider - notes that Google and Facebook are actually more like buddies these days. After all, the number of Google sessions generated via Facebook has nearly doubled - from 9 percent last year to 19 percent. Among Sandler's key points:

Facebook is actually positive and complementary for Google thus far, but that could change if Facebook's rapid growth trajectory continues on its current path, or if/when social media can find a business model and attract ad dollars from other online media.

Oh, right. A business model and revenue plan. Facebook needs one. You'll recall that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last year that he's focused on growing the number of users and is giving the company a few years - until 2011 - before jumping into a plan for bringing in money.

All economy issues aside, I still maintain that waiting so long may not be the best approach. Social media types are fickle and, in the Internet age, the big thing today may be overshadowed by something new tomorrow. Just look at how quickly Facebook overpowered MySpace in popularity.

Already, Twitter seems to be stealing some thunder from Facebook. Just this week, numbers from Nielsen Online found that Twitter grew by 1,382 percent in February, compared to a year ago, and registered more than 7 million unique visitors in the U.S. for the month, up 50 percent from the 4.5 million uniques a month earlier. (Check out Nielsen's chart below) Facebook, by comparison was up a still-impressive 228 percent. MySpace was down 4 percent.

Speaking for myself, I am spending much more time on Twitter. And I'm starting to see many more of my Facebook contacts on Twitter too. I know that a handful of people - myself included - are so turned off by the new design that we're not spending nearly as much time on Facebook as we did before the new look. The new design is frustrating, clunky and, quite frankly, not worth spending the time to figure it out. (Are you listening, Mark?)

With that said, I wouldn't be surprised to see Facebook traffic start slipping in the coming months - or at least for the growth to slow. Doesn't sound to me like Google should be immediately threatened by Facebook's growth.

Also see: Facebook's new look: Will it show us the money?

[poll=110]

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I don't think my ADD and OCD levels are high enough to use Twitter

    But I do Facebook, mostly to keep in touch with people I know well but who live far away from me. I don't check it often which is why I never will use Twitter. Nothing requires that I pay that much attention to it.
    T1Oracle
  • RE: Could Facebook surpass Google? Not with Twitter around

    OMG! MySpace, Facebook and now Twitter? I?m honestly so sick of that. Of cause, as a parent, I have the right, and responsibility, to tell my kids NO when I feel it is in their best interests. In a perfect world, telling your kids NO works. Unfortunately, our world is not quite so perfect. Kids go to friends houses and even to the public library, coffee shops, and so many other places - and can use those computers to sign up on MYSPACE and others. That?s why I don?t restrict MySpace and Facebook accounts (thank God they dont know about Twitter yet), but I have only one rule to follow. My children can use Internet only when I or my husband at home. Additionally, I built a simple parental control <a href="http://www.internettimer.net">Ez Internet Timer</a>. It allows me to schedule all children?s on-line activity and disable the internet connection after a specified amount of time.
    Kim Trevis
  • RE: Could Facebook surpass Google? Not with Twitter around

    OMG! MySpace, Facebook and now Twitter? I?m honestly so sick of that. Of cause, as a parent, I have the right, and responsibility, to tell my kids NO when I feel it is in their best interests. In a perfect world, telling your kids NO works. Unfortunately, our world is not quite so perfect. Kids go to friends houses and even to the public library, coffee shops, and so many other places - and can use those computers to sign up on MYSPACE and others. That?s why I don?t restrict MySpace and Facebook accounts (thank God they dont know about Twitter yet), but I have only one rule to follow. My children can use Internet only when I or my husband at home. Additionally, I built a simple parental control Ez Internet Timer (http://www.internettimer.net). It allows me to schedule all children?s on-line activity and disable the internet connection after a specified amount of time.
    Kim Trevis
  • Honestly...

    I don't see it happening... I am a 15 year old
    who uses Google, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter
    daily and I really don't see this happening.
    When it comes to all of these services though,
    I don't see them changing much in the coming
    years. It really just depends on what you want
    to do with it. I use MySpace more than any
    other two combined because of all of it's
    capabilities. Facebook comes second and I use
    that one to contact my older family friends
    that don't have a MySpace and to post the
    pictures that I just didn't think would go on
    MySpace.

    To be fair, I just started using Twitter a week
    ago. I'm a very tech-savvy person though and I
    don't really get Twitter... I don't know!

    Just throwing in my two cents.
    gamefreak9310
  • RE: Could Facebook surpass Google? Not with Twitter around

    Google is great for information
    Facebook only use is stalking

    Facebook stalking video, must see... be sure to watch to the end
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYpMLmwR56s
    zedty
  • RE: Could Facebook surpass Google? Not with Twitter around

    I don't think facebook could surpasse google in term of
    traffic. More over because of it's new design and its need to
    copy twitter with a new design, with the story of profiles ...

    Facebook shoudn't change its politic if it wants to surpasse
    google, twitter or the others
    acordonnier
  • RE: Could Facebook surpass Google? Not with Twitter around

    Twitter is nowhere close to what Facebook gives in terms of keeping fully in touch with my 800+ friends. I am an early adopter and i don't see why my non-geek friends would adopt twitter. Facebook provides a full experience that people can make sense of. Twitter in comarison is... nothing?!

    My cubible colleague is using it... and even though i've been around the web checking out every service i deemed interesting, i can't figure out why i'd connect to twitter.

    About the new Facebook design: It rocks. I can finally see my updates by friends' lists (which i organize by country), and all the twittering i need is already in the Facebook with the "what's on your mind" question, which is directly braodcasted to my 800+ friends. Why would i bother with Twitter?

    Facebook provedies me a much fuller experience (twittering+pictures+videos+profiles+wall+fan pages), and my non-geek friends get used to it very fast (meaning: they don't need to ask me a whole bunch of questions)

    User experience is king, and Facebook is providing it, while twitter remains hard to explain to the non-enlightened. And those are my friends.
    Vahidm
    • I don't like FB

      I don't like FB, but it grew by 45M users last year while Twitter grew by 6.5M. In other words, FB grew by Twitter's ENTIRE POPULACE every two months.

      People aren't going to "leave" Facebook because there's nothing out there with all their friends on it. Where would these "fickle" people go? Facebook has the network effect and a near monopoly in many countries. It's trying to push Twitter out by making the new layout more Twitter-like, and it may succeed.

      If Facebook is still around in 2011, it will have cemented its monopoly position to the point where it could have heinous amounts of advertising and still keep everyone.
      daengbo