Is Facebook going after Google?

I was recently reading an article in Bloomberg’s Businessweek “Facebook Delves Deeper Into Search” where they talk about the possibility of Facebook offering a real search engine component to its social platform.  Facebook never took their search tool very seriously, that being evident when you search for something like “Luxury homes in Bergen county NJ” you’ll get some Bing results from Microsoft, some people you may know, some disjointed ads and possibly a few groups.  In terms of a quality search engine result it is not very helpful.

In February, Facebook had 336 million search queries, according to ComScore— far fewer than Goo and its closest competitors.

It was suggested that former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen and about 2 dozen engineers are working on an improved search engine.  The sources familiar with the project who did not want to be named because the company is in a quiet period ahead of its IPO said this project is to help users better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people “like” using Facebook’s thumbs-up button.

Did I mention that Facebook declared on February 1st its intention to raise $5 billion in what will likely be the largest initial public offering in tech history.

The $15 billion search advertising market could be a huge opportunity for Facebook.  As Google is attacking Facebook with its Google+ network, Facebook is fighting back and hitting Google where it hurts, in their major product, the search.

Facebook could also follow the lead of companies such as Google and Microsoft and start selling relevant—and profitable—keyword ads alongside results. “Search is the best form of monetization on the Web by far, and they are leaving that on the table,” says Doug Leeds, chief executive officer of search engine Ask.com. “From a business perspective, you have to think about going into search.”

So do you think Facebook should dive into the search engine market?  Let us know.

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