Facebook has become the premium identity management company on the web with 500 million+ users. Just think of how many apps allow you to log-in using your facebook ID (aka Facebook Connect). In late 2010, Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) stated that 10,000 websites integrate with Facebook everyday (that is over 3.6 million new sites every year).
Facebook knows who you are, what you like, who your friends are, where you have been (Places) and what you are thinking about (status updates). Do you think that helps when targeting advertising?
Remember that Facebook posts are [mostly] off limits to search engines which means Google can’t leverage your info to sell search, offer their services, create user profiles for better targeting, etc.
They want to know who you are and what you like so that they can profile and target you more accurately.
How much time do you spend on Facebook as opposed to checking email, searching the web, etc? Comscore says the average user spends 375 minutes per month browsing Facebook and only 231 minutes on Google services.
This “lost screentime” for Google means less opportunity to advertise.
Many users use to search the web for provider recommendations (aka doctors, lawyer, restaurants, barbers, etc), but now turn to their network on Facebook.
Facebook is now the number 1 source for product and service recommendations
Google is not standing still and is willing to try almost anything to convince you to move your identity over to them. They released +1 and opened Google Plus (Google+) to a limited beta group.
They also understand that in the next 5 -7 years, our mobile phones will become hub of our digital identity. As more and more users shift to smartphones, a new opportunity may open up identity management domination (Apple, Google or HP). Don’t forget every iPhone or Android device requires an ID with the publisher to work.