Out-Googling Google

On Wednesday, Facebook announced a substantial increase in revenue, earning $5.8 billion in Q4, and reaching nearly 1.6 billion users. What struck me was how deeply certain Facebook products — which until somewhat recently had been just side features — are now both intrinsic to its growth strategy and a direct threat to many of Google’s core products.

A few interesting stats, (broken down by TechCrunch, with my own comments beneath):

• 100 million hours of video watched per day

Or 100 million hours of video not watched on YouTube.

• 1 billion users on Groups

Which means considerably less activity on Google Groups (The users may not be mutually exclusive, but some of the activity likely is).

• 500 million users on Events and 123 million events created in 2015

Meaning that Google Calendar is seeing considerably less use than it otherwise would have. Again, not mutually exclusive (many events will be cross published, on say, Facebook Events, Google Calendar, and Eventbrite), but it once was more of a Google town.

• 50 million small and medium sized business on Pages

This perhaps strikes at the core of Google’s business, which relies on display advertising. If many small and medium-sized businesses are turning to Facebook to create a web presence — either in addition to, or instead of, an actual website — Google’s opportunity to monetize on search ads for these businesses is reduced. Ben Thompson, of Stratechery, noted in a recent post that Facebook has become the “Internet’s home page,” and it’s likely that many users search for businesses on Facebook, rather than just on Google.

As I’ve written before, Facebook Messenger, and now Whatsapp, are in the process of evolving into platforms, and their stated aim for monetization is to help businesses and customers interact more seamlessly. That 50 million more businesses signed up for Pages is proof that Facebook is trying to shepherd more businesses and consumers into its commerce-centric ecosystem.

It also bears mentioning that businesses and customers who migrate to Pages are likely to be drawn into the Messenger platform, which, in turn, pulls that much consumer interaction from taking place over email, and specifically, Gmail.

This post originally appeared on Silicon Spatula, where I write about tech, business and food, and the delicious times they coincide.

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