- The Google-updated algorithm prefers mobile-friendly sites and supports the increase in mobile search.
- Facebook is looking to increase its mobile ads sales in light of the latest rise of adblocks in desktop browsers.
- Indexing Facebook’s mobile app will benefit both companies.
We know about the rivalry between Google and Facebook in the online video advertising space, but there's also been speculation about a brewing competition in online search. However, that might not be the case anymore, as the two join forces in this space. Earlier this year, search giant Alphabet Inc-C (NASDAQ:GOOG) updated its algorithm in its popular site to reflect the recent changes in the consumer electronics world and prefer mobile-friendly sites over desktop-only sites. By updating its algorithm, Google transformed its search engine to better fit current times when a large portion of the search is conducted via mobile devices; users expect to receive mobile-friendly results to fit their device. That was a significant update for Google’s search algorithm that forced many webmasters, site owners, and companies to adjust their sites to the new requirements.
Later this year, Google’s search chief Amit Singhal unveiled that for the first time, more searches were completed this year on mobile devices than desktop computers. This trend supports the trend other technology segments experienced when users shifted to mobile in videos, gaming, and content consumption and lately even content creation with the new iPad Pro and Microsoft Office for iOS. Although Google’s change was required to improve user experience and increase monetization from mobile search, it still didn’t index one of the largest databases online – Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).
Currently, there are two places to which people go to search for events, new restaurants, or favorite sports team – that’s either Google or Facebook. When searching in Google, results may include some pages from Facebook, but the search giant is not indexing most content uploaded or shared on Facebook. Thus, the only way to find such content would be to use the Facebook search option. Facebook’s search option is a frustrating experience for those who tried it, as it only shows partial information and requires significant fine tuning before the correct results are obtained.
Both Google and Facebook are dissatisfied with the current Facebook search situation. Google could not show enough social media results, which made it obsolete, whereas Facebook provides a poor searching experience for users. Considering that account users shift to mobile and that adblocks have become increasingly popular on desktop browsers, it became clear that Google and Facebook needed to strengthen their mobile solutions further.
The Google Facebook Partnership
To solve the companies’ mobile difficulty, they signed an agreement in which Google will index Facebook’s mobile app content and present such content in its mobile search results. Indexing Facebook’s mobile app has a number of advantages for Google: first, it will display Facebook results on its mobile search engine and allow users to use Google as their only search option instead of searching both Google and Facebook. Second, it will enable Google to increase monetization from mobile as it will drive more mobile traffic to its search engine. Third, this is the first time that a major app will allow Google to crawl and publish deep-link results from in-app activity on public search.
Indexing mobile apps is where mobile search is moving to, and having Google index Facebook’s app is a huge step for the search giant towards strengthening its mobile solution. Once Google starts indexing more mobile apps, it could serve as a significant catalyst for revenue increase as more traffic will go to the Google search engine, driving more ad sales. Facebook, which is slowly changing its focus to broader technology segments than social media alone, will attract more mobile traffic from search results that could drive additional mobile ad sales. When adblocks become a serious threat to desktop browsers, that could be a mutually beneficial solution for Google and Facebook.