Excerpt from a Google/Facebook reality check
Imagine what Google could do with all that data and you start to understand why social is so darned important for them right now. Not to kill Facebook, but to try to neutralize the threat that the next great leap in search engine evolution doesn’t happen completely without them. A lot of the searches that Google is really bad at – commerce and travel, for example – can get really good really fast if you can look at deep data from friends about those very things. I don’t need pages and pages of results. Just a nice hotel in Paris that a friend vouches for. Or a movie I’ll enjoy. Or the right set of pots and pans. All that data is right there on Facebook.
It may take Facebook a few years to really start to get interested in search. But there is so much advertising revenue in that business that they can’t ignore it forever. And that must scare Google more than just about anything else.