Facebook vs Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and everyone else

Just found this old draft, I thought I’d best publish it, I’t probably out of date now though?

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Rumour has it that Facebook will be introducing Email, Search and Docs in today’s Web 2.0 conference.

Rumours state that Facebook will likely make it the email completely open, allowing POP and IMAP access so people can use their own email clients, like Outlook and Thunderbird.

Additionally, rumours state that it will also integrate with Microsoft’s online office suite called Office Web Apps allowing Office web app users to share their docs with their friends on Facebook.

Also we are expecting a Facebook search engine that will consider the searcher’s friends’ preferences as well as the user’s and search terms when providing results.

These new features will put Facebook in direct competition with Google’s GmailGoogle Docs and in part Google Search.

The search will be very hard to complete with and I would expect Facebook’s search to be different enough to be more of a focussed search for social purposes than to find something. For instance: if someone wants to find something out they will ‘Googleit’, but if they want to find something that everyone else is talking about so they can keep up, it’ may be more successful in Facebook than Google.

The two have never really been head to head up to this point. While both making money from ads on pages and using clever profiling to get the right ads in front of each visitor, Facebook does it inside Facebook.com and Google does it everywhere else.

Now Facebook could cover everywhere, from inside Facebook. This could make it much like all other sites like Yahooand AOL and MSN except Facebook already has a much stickier user base. People go to all of the other sites either to check their email or search the web. People go to Facebook to stay in touch with their friends and family and spend more time doing that than searching. Additionally with Facebook allowing brands to create their own pages so easily and include news and tweets etc. they could steel a lot of content traffic from everyone. It’ll be interesting to see how everyone reacts once we have all of the facts.