Facebook could be second-most popular search engine: survey

Facebook could become a major player in the Web search market overnight if it launched a feature integrated into its social network, according to a London-based search engine optimization firm.

Facebook could capture about 22 per cent of the global search market if it launched its own engine tomorrow, according to Greenlight. While just five per cent of survey respondents said they’d “definitely” use a future Facebook search engine, 12 per cent said they’d “probably” use it, and nine per cent “don’t know” if they’d use it. The survey of 500 respondents was conducted on a global basis.

If it did capture that audience, Facebook would suddenly become the second most-used search engine after Google (which owns a whopping 87 per cent share worldwide) in every major market save for China, Japan, and Russia, where it would be in third spot.

Launching a search engine could be a logical response to Google’s entry into the social network space with Google+. Google has integrated its social features including a +1 button into its search results.

But Facebook might have trouble making money on any future search engine endeavours, Greenlight says. When asked if they clicked on advertisements or sponsored listings on Facebook, 44 per cent of respondents said “never” and 31 per cent said “rarely.” Add that to the 13 per cent that don’t use Facebook and that is the lion’s share of users.

Also, despite using the social platform, 30 per cent of respondents “strongly distrust” Facebook with their personal data.

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