Can you imagine how powerful Google would have been today if it had access to monstrous amount of data that Facebook owns today?
In an age where users are torn between their dependence on the internet and the knowledge that this dependence comes with serious privacy concerns, we are yet to find a viable solution that truly works in the favour of users. Big Tech today is at a point where each and every prominent player is trying to establish dominance. Occupying the throne of tech-lord-supreme means being in possession of tons of data and money, essentially giving one unbridled access to two of the most significant business-related resources of the decade.
Within the Big Tech clique, attempts to establish alliances through investments, mergers, and acquisitions are commonplace. Whenever a new, potentially explosive candidate arrives on the scene, a race sets off between the biggest players to take it under their wing.
It is no surprise then that social media behemoth Facebook, known as TheFacebook during the early days of its existence, was one such popular newbie when it first entered the tech landscape.
More and More: Google’s Vision for Facebook
The tweet features a snippet from a leaked internal Google document dating back to 2007 that delineates plans and suggestions to potentially double the company’s signed-in search volume by acquiring Facebook.
While Evans’ tone is flippant, the document provides clear-cut proof on a much larger phenomenon within the tech industry.
Google has primarily been a search engine throughout its existence, even though it consistently expands the services it has to offer. To offer relevant search results, Google relies on algorithms that use previous user data, among other things.
Another one of Google’s specialities is targeted advertising. Their biggest source of revenue is the income they generate by advertising their partners’ products to highly targeted audiences. Google’s advertising prowess is believed to be the best of its kind, and the company gets paid by their partners on every ad-click. Just to put things in perspective, advertising accounted for 82.3% of the company’s total revenue in fiscal Q1 2020, and it has not changed much in the last years.
For advertising, much like search engine results, user data is crucial in order to maintain the algorithm’s accuracy and generate traffic towards the partner websites.
Thus, had Google acquired Facebook back in 2007, when it had progressed way past the stage of being a social media site solely for students, Google would have been able to gain access to an additional trove of user data, one which was out of its reach.
By acquiring Facebook, Google could’ve possibly integrated signed in Facebook users to a profile on Google’s browser. Signed-in searches are coveted for the simple reason that they provide the servers with way more information than a signed-out search. With a signed-in search, the database can assimilate new information into an already robust database, and come up with new connections among different data points.
Facebook’s Clear Refusals and the Emergence of a Worthy Contender
Google’s attempts to reach out to Facebook never produced any results. While the 2007 offer had clear and attractive terms with a proposed valuation of $15 billion for Facebook, the first attempt was made in 2004, when Facebook had just launched.
Even though Google softened its approach with plans of first becoming a stakeholder and eventually gaining full control of the company, it lost to the strategic offer Microsoft made to Facebook at the same time.
With time, Facebook’s success has mounted and made it a permanent placeholder in the upper echelons of big tech.
While Facebook continues to remain a social networking site, it has a massive user base, with 2.6 billion global monthly active users, as per data from Q1 2020. Despite being a different type of service than Google, it has become a strong contender. This is mainly due to the way Facebook has expanded its operations to create a sort of microcosm within the website where people can keep in touch with friends and family, get their fill of daily news (based on recommendations coming directly from trusted people in their life), buy and sell goods, visit external links, etc.
Through this, Facebook keeps all of its users’ major needs within one place. The personalized data they collect along with its usage of people’s social networks to spread information makes the Facebook news feed a search-engine-like spread. With this, they offer an alternative, people-oriented model of internet usage, challenging the mathematical one Google offers.
The Fight is Still On
The purpose of Google wanting to acquire Facebook back in 2007 was not just limited to increased singed-in searches. The docoument also depicts that Google was eyeing on the personal information of Facebook users as well to refine its search results and more targeted advertising. Considering the size and the data Facebook posses today, we could only imagine how powerful Google would have been has it gained controlled of Facebook!
The repeated grilling of Google and Facebook – along with a few other tech behemoths – by the watchdogs of the industry indicates why authorities are concerned about the enormous amount of data these two companies are possessing.
While Facebook competes tooth and nail with Google now, the latter’s dominance over the web is still unmatched by leagues.
Note: Dazeinfo couldn’t verify the authenticity of the document. We neither confirm nor deny if the snippet is a part of the leaked Google document.