Now that school’s back in session, football’s back on TV, and the leaves are starting to make their way to the ground, May seems so far away. An entire quarter of a year, gone.
And with no word from Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuck, as you may recall, had a pretty busy month in May. In addition to getting married, Facebook’s long-awaited initial public offering was made available at $38 USD/share.
And then things just got bad. As of September 10, each of those shares was worth about half of its original amount.
As the months passed, Mark Zuckerberg was really nowhere to be found. He said nothing of Facebook’s stock troubles. He said nothing of… well, anything, really.
But that changed yesterday (September 11) when he made his first appearance since the IPO at Tech Crunch Disrupt.
He talked about the stock situation, of course, but what he had to say about the future of Facebook, mobile, and search was of far greater interest to me.
Zuck revealed that Facebook is currently responding to about 1 billion queries per day.
To put that into perspective a little bit, Google is currently responding to about 3 billion queries per day.
This begs the question, What would happen if Facebook tried?
Zuck went on to talk about a someday-Facebook search. As an example, he said that users would be able to search for something like, “What’s the best Sushi restaurant in New York City that my friends have been to and liked?”
They’d be able to search businesses and see what friends and friends-of-friends they know there for job-hunting purposes.
It’s impossible to hear all of this without thinking at least a little bit about Google’s social recommendations. Google may be more widely used for search right now, but Facebook is the social media giant, and it might very well prove that the key to the ultimate equation is social before search and not the other way around.
And then there was mobile.
Zuckerberg noted that he uses Facebook most often from his phone – but he uses his phone more than any other device.
“I basically live on my mobile phone,” he said, also adding that he wrote the founders’ letter to shareholders that was written for the IPO on his phone.
Zuck made it abundantly clear that, while Facebook still has no plans for a phone of its own, it is very much a mobile company. That’s where we’re spending so much of our time now. Mobile is where we’re going.
Mobile also promises to be a bigger cash cow for Facebook than desktop has been.
Recognizing that their mobile apps were not where they wanted them to be, they’ve been constantly working to improve those, and will continue to do so.
Now, Google has done some pretty big things with Android, but therein lies the problem. Google has invested itself heavily in that platform.
Imagine what the combination of amped up search and cross-platform mobile apps could do for Facebook. What if you were to able to visit a new city on business or vacation, open up a new-and-improved Facebook app on your phone while you were out, and receive search results within that app based first on your friends’ and then on other Facebook users’ recommendations?
What if your search could return your friends’ past statuses and check-ins to places in your town that might be new to you?
Many of these elements are already in place on Facebook. It’s only a matter of time until they’re made completely searchable and incorporated into results. (And, of course, commence with much debate over privacy settings.)
Those are, of course, just a few of many possibilities for such a tool.
For so long, Google has been at the forefront of search. It’s certainly not impossible to think that Facebook could catch up. Though he’s not done particularly well by Wall Street standards, Zuckerberg seemed confident and focused on his mission to continue to improve and grow Facebook.
Where do you think the future is taking Facebook in terms of search and mobile? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
photo credit: GreenwichTime