martinibuster - 4:31 am on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)
...tech analyst Karsten Weide of the IDC research firm said the company missed a bigger opportunity.
"If they committed to doing Web search and built a Web search engine that was turbocharged with social search, too, that would give Google a run for its money," Weide said.
Building a web search product is not viable for two reasons. The first reason is that a credible web search product is prohibitively expensive. The second reason is that it makes Facebook a competitor with their current ally, Bing. It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars (or more) on a product that may or may not be as good as Bing or Google and face an uphill battle to make a convincing case to the public why they should FB Web Search over Google or their partner Bing. It makes sense to piggyback on Bing. That's the short version.
Web search involves a deep investment of money into hardware, software and talent. Think of all the datacenters needed to provide a viable web search product, not to mention the software (algorithms) and original research to produce a web search product. It makes little financial sense for FB to build a "Web search engine that was turbocharged with social search" because it's financially and intellectually prohibitive. Not to mention that it would immediately make them a competitor to their partner Bing.
A third issue with that statement is the assumption that Social Search is something to be bolted on to Web Search, that Social Search turbocharges the engine of search. That statement reveals a lack of understanding that Social Search is it's own engine, not a value-add to the Web Search Engine. They are two different engines. That's the concept that Karsten Weide of the IDC research firm does not have his head around.
To be fair, many people don't have their head around this concept. It's truly new, which makes it hard to understand because it doesn't fit current conventions of what search is. Social search has the potential of being disruptive, of changing how people research certain kinds of information, much of which involves the spending of money and intersects with Mobile Search.
FB Search has the potential in itself to become many things that so-called tech analysts haven't even considered, like a dating research tool. It has the potential to become the killer Mobile Search tool. There are many more facets to FB Social search beyond what I just mentioned that in my opinion makes FB Social Search the app that will carry them into the mobile age and make Facebook relevant for the next ten years.