a tweet by Google. The announcement means that we will begin seeing results from the nearly 3 million fan pages, but not from the more than 400 million users.As of today, Facebook Fan Page status updates will begin appearing in Google search results, according to
Google currently controls around 90% of the search engine market, according to StatCounter, with Yahoo and Bing its closest competitors. Will Bing's exclusive access to Facebook user updates change this at all?
Google first announced the expansion of its real-time Web search last December, noting that it would include data from Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Indenti.ca and Twitter. And, of course, Buzz is now included in that list. Since then, Bing and Yahoo have made deals to step up their real-time Web search as well.
Yahoo recently brokered a deal with Twitter, and Bing expanded its partnership with Facebook to become the default on-site search engine for the social network. Also included in the Bing deal was the ability to fully index public user updates, but this functionality is not yet available.
While it may be true that having access to only Facebook Fan Page updates puts Google at a disadvantage in terms of the sheer volume of content indexed, do we really want to have every piece of content shared by those 400 million users in our search results? A recent post here on ReadWriteWeb garnered a large stream of traffic from the more technologically inept portion of Facebook's user base - and the resulting comments were less than intellectual.
As Brandee Barker, a spokeswoman for Facebook, told us the other day, "Facebook Pages are designed to provide authentic voices for public figures, celebrities, and organizations." While some are arguing these new results will just be a stream of advertisements and self-promotion, they will focus on official voices from organizations and the content they want to share.
We're not sure about you, but maybe we don't want to hear every little thing every person on the planet has to say about everything. Although the Internet is a great and democratizing force, perhaps having some filters remain in place isn't the end of the world. It can be hard enough just keeping up with the stream of updates as it is. Adding the daily chatter of 400 million may just go one step too far - although we'd still like the option.
Maybe, in the end, this will give Bing a bigger share of the search engine market, and that isn't a bad thing. Just like a multi-party political system offers more choices, maybe a more balanced search engine market would be better for us, too. When we want the official word from official organizations, we can go to Google. When we want to put our finger on the pulse of the 400 million users, we can go to Bing.