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Will Facebook kill Google?

I was asked this question in an interview the other day. It’s framed more provocatively than you or I might think about it, but interviews are like that. The answer was easy, because of the extreme nature of the question. Of course Facebook won’t kill Google. But I don’t say that because I somehow think Larry P has the jump on Mark Z.–instead, I say it because nothing kills anything…

TV was supposed to kill the movies, right? Didn’t quite happen. Or was it that TV was expected to kill radio? That didn’t happen, either. What did happen is that the way we use radio changed.

Burns and Allen, Gunsmoke, soap operas…they all started on radio and moved to TV, leaving radio with news, talk, and music, which seems like a perfectly good use of audio. We started listening to radio mostly in our cars rather than in our homes. Radio changed a lot, but it still isn’t dead.

Twitter killed blogging, right? OK, not exactly. Twitter did kill certain types of blogging. All those blog posts where someone commented on someone else’s post–those are dead because they are better done in Twitter. But blog posts that are a long form article won’t die until something else comes along.

So, no, Facebook won’t kill Google. But searches that could be better served by asking your friends will die. As each new technology comes along, it steals a piece of what the older technologies do. It steals tasks and it steals time. But it’s rare that a communications technology completely kills a predecessor. (Yeah, I hear you, 8-track tapes.) What usually happens is that we specialize—we use new things for what they are good at and we continue to use the old things for some of what we used them for before, but not everything.

Expect to see that with Google, too. And eventually, we’ll be asking whether something new will kill Facebook, and the answer to that will be “no,” also.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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