Facebook: Makes Noise without Trying

September 20, 2010

Americans like to post photos, update status messages, and scroll through news from friends on Facebook, more than any other activity when online. This is concluded from a comScore research revealed in the USAToday.com article, “Facebook Inches Past Google for Web Users’ Minutes.” Moreover, what startles us more is the fact stated that, “U.S. Web surfers are spending more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google.”

My view is that Google wants to make sure usage for its service sticks in the 50 to 60 percent range. At these levels, Google is not really a monopoly in my view.

But this Facebook surge probably rings a bell for Google, as well as Yahoo, both of which were well ahead of Facebook ,in terms of percentage of Web surfers who spent time on their sites. In just a matter of three years, Facebook’s share of U.S. surfers’ total minutes per month has risen from 2 percent to 9.9 percent, whereas Google lags behind at 9.6 percent, even after including its sites like YouTube, Gmail and others. This could well be a wakeup call for the giant Google, with a challenge to regain the top spot.

But the real story is that a post in a popular Web log and the follow up story “Anatomy Of A PR Spin (AKA How To Lie Like A Pro)” has escalated into a major media incident in the blogosphere. The idea that Facebook, a mere social network, would create a mobile device is little more than one of those Silicon Valley rumors. What is important is that a Silicon Valley rumor like Oracle wanting to buy a search vendor (how boring) becomes when Facebook is involved. Not boring. A huge issue.

That’s the story for me.

Facebook right now is one of the outfits with the power to disrupt. Forget the Facebook phone or whatever the rumor says the device is.

Facebook has arrived and it will be no easy task to put a damper on the Facebook noise. Honk.

Stephen E Arnold, September 20, 2010



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