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Search Engine Update: Google Slips; Facebook Expands

June 24, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – Facebook’s promised SEO upgrades — an effort, seemingly, to compete with the Internet powerhouse that is Google — are well underway. Subtly, significant changes to that social media site’s search function and the extent to which it allows advertisers to reach Facebook have come into effect.

Facebook’s new “Open Graph” search technology means that advertisers are now popping up in the site’s search results — and those advertisers can then link back to their website, “something Facebook previously never offered”, writes Nick O’Neill at

“[T]he future of Facebook is not on the site itself. Such a shift will not take place overnight however,” O’Neill explains, indicating Facebook’s potential power to unseat Google as a different kind of search site.

“As Facebook focuses on reducing the friction on both the publisher end, as well as the users end for interacting with ‘Likes’ around the web, the company is effectively creating the most structured search system on the internet,” O’Neill continues. “While the company invites others, like Google, to adopt the standard, Facebook is the only one who’s tracking the likes of each of those objects.”

Meanwhile, although Google still dominates the search industry with two-thirds of the market share in the U.S., it’s interesting to note that that lead is slowly diminishing — ever so slightly, but nonetheless unmistakeably — in recent months. At the same time, the share percentages for Bing and Yahoo have increased. Now, we’re talking a fraction of a percentage point here, but it is an ongoing trend. Google has dropped about a point and a half in the past six months, and Bing has gained. Check out comScore reports for the full info — here’s the report for November 2009, as compared to May 2010.

Of course, in the strictest sense, Google has nothing to worry about at this point — it still dominates the search engine market, and, furthermore, even though Facebook is working on a new trick that could change things up considerably, it isn’t even in the search engine business. (At least, not officially.)

And yet, these developments do show that Facebook may be quickly evolving into a different kind of Internet go-to search tool for its more than 400 million of users, and that could, conceivably, be reason for Google to be concerned in the long run.