Facebook profits for the fourth quarter increased by 57 percent mostly because of the mobile traffic it has been garnering, where it makes up 80 percent of the total ad revenue. As a result, shares of the massive social network went up by about 15 percent.
The company continues to have a strong presence online, up to the point where it can be comparable with unexpected competitors such as the likes of Google. Of course, it could be argued that the two tech companies are in different fields – one is a social network and the other a search engine.
However, seeing as how much Facebook is a part of the lives of a huge portion of online users, it can be considered to be in the same ballpark as Google, not to mention that the social media company has been delving into projects, broadening its scope in the technological scene.
On top of that, Facebook doesn't even think of itself as a social network, according to Chief Product Officer at Facebook Chris Cox, who says that the platform is a "medium," which refers to Marshall McLuhan's popular phrase, "The medium is the message."
Moving forward, here are a couple of reasons how Facebook can take on Google in the war for Internet dominance.
Facebook is going beyond its advertising within the social media platform via an external marketing network in the foreseeable future, which has some similarities with Google's AdSense. However, with information of billions of users to make use of in advertising, Facebook may have the edge in this department.
"I feel Facebook has an advantage here because social graphing is a better tool than word context when it comes to targeting," Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs Journey says.
The idea of connecting people all over the world online is widely adopted by big tech companies. Google has Fiber in select locations and Project Loon. Meanwhile, Facebook has its eyes set in employing lasers, drones and satellites as part of Internet.org.
In other words, Facebook definitely has the potential to land a spot in the front lines in this sector.
The number of virtual assistants has been steadily growing, and that includes Facebook's promising version simply called M, which can "handle more complex queries than Apple's Siri." Capability-wise, it can do more than give weather or news updates and search online, as it can also read a user's Facebook news feed and like and comment on posts on the social network.
Google just made a milestone in the AI industry when the DeepMind team was able to teach a computer program called AlphaGo to play Go. By coincidence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company's AI research team was "getting close" in achieving the same feat with what they call DarkForest.
As mentioned earlier, much of the ad revenue of Facebook came from mobile users. With 1.59 billion monthly active users, 1.44 billion of those are on the mobile. This translates to a strong and lasting position on the platform for many years to come.
Nothing much to say here, but Facebook is doing a lot better than Google+ when it comes to the number of users. It's worth pointing out that the latter may have taken the cake regarding quality based on the compilation of Lifehacker's Adam Dachis.
On the social media front, Facebook is at the top of the proverbial food chain. Back in November 2015, Parse.ly published a graph that revealed how social traffic is on the uprise, beating search traffic.
Furthermore, Parse.ly also made a graph that compared the referral traffic between the two back in December 2015, where Facebook passed Google's figures.
While Facebook already has a search function to explore the innards of the network, Lance Ulanoff of Mashable presented an interesting idea. He says that the company could "add a global search as part of the search bar" and license Bing search results, which essentially means that Facebook will be able to invade Google's search-engine turf.
"Right now, that bar explicitly says 'Search Facebook.' What if Facebook changed it to just 'Search' and the results front-loaded Facebook content, but then also presented results of the Internet at large," he writes.
Long Story Short
The question of whether Facebook can beat Google remains to be backed up by many more solid figures, but with the current evidence at hand, it certainly has the means and capability to do so.