In its ongoing search for new revenue streams, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) thinks one untapped arena is a social search product.
On Monday, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, appeared on CNBC and neither affirmed nor denied that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could challenge Google in the search arena.
Sandberg said via CNET, “I think people are surprised how much search is done on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), you know, every day there’s an enormous percentage of search. There’s also a promise in the market that search could become more social, and we don’t think this has been met. When you’re looking for information, the question is who do you want it from. Do you want it from the wisdom of crowds, or the wisdom of friends? Our answer to the information that’s most relevant for users — it’s really about friends… if I’m looking for a restaurant to go to in New York this week, I’d rather get a recommendation from a friend.”
The executive’s remarks come on the heels of recent ones made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. While attending TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco last month, he said in an interview that a corporate team was working on a search project and added, “Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of questions people have.”
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), unlike Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Bing, or Google+, it has a pool of 950 million members to extract data from and make recommendations.
According to CNET, Sandberg had been asked by CNBC about competing against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG); she would not answer about specific product launches.
Google sits as the leader for traditional search, but Facebook could develop a search product that could compete against a company such as Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) or Foursquare, when taking the angle of recommendations.
Also on Monday, Sandberg spoke about additional ways for the company to make money; one way may come through the sheer size of the company.
She said, “We think the potential on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) for almost anything is big, because of our sheer size and scale and because of what users are doing and how engaged they are on the site.”
Sandberg added that the company is looking at the creation of premium services for businesses, such as analytics or customer service at their requests. Just last week, the company launched its Facebook Gifts e-commerce service.
Want to send a Starbucks giftcard, cupcakes, or a teddy, just do it through a Facebook friend’s birthday reminder, thanks to this new offering.
This service has been referred to as “the beginnings of commerce on Facebook” but as noted by CNET, it sounds like a “Want” button for products.
Sandberg had been asked about this and while she did not did not discard this idea, she said, “there is the ability to build all different open graph implementations and there are people working on that.”