Facebook Search Could Be A Big Money Maker

Despite hopes, Facebook did not introduce a phone, but its new Graph Search might actually be a big money maker for the social-networking giant. Still, Facebook likely won’t earn much with it in the near term as it focuses on user experience, and we shouldn’t expect Facebook to really provide competition for Google’s search engine anytime soon.

During an event yesterday at its headquarters in California, Facebook unveiled a new tool that expands Facebook search with context. A bigger search bar offers members a way to type in their natural language queries and find photos, restaurants recommended by their friends’ history, or even potential dates and job recruits. When Facebook doesn’t have the answer, Microsoft’s Bing will do the rest as it provides regular web results, says Cnet.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Justin Post says:

“Given Facebook’s large scale, getting users to search on the platform is a significant opportunity; if Facebook can generate just one paid click per user per year, the company could add $500 [million] in annual revenue.”

The biggest advantage of giving users an alternative search service on Facebook is that it could keep people on the site, according to Computer World. If users don’t have to leave Facebook to get a question answered, then Facebook is rewarded with more of their browser time, and potentially more of their money.

Even Zynga, creators of Farmville and Cafe World, knew that Facebook was a great way to bring in revenue.

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Brian Blau, an analyst, reported:

“Advertising could benefit from better ad targeting as the natural language search queries will be more detailed, personal and the results will be more accurate. So there will be advertising opportunities on Facebook that were not available previously.”

Most of Google’s profit is not generated from its Android, Maps, or the acquisition of YouTube. It is generated by their search engine, and, if Graph Search is successful, it could pay off in a big way for Facebook as well.