facebook is the new google | part ?

Professor Ginny Olson pointed this out to me today. Harris Interactive's recent poll on social media (pdf) (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) had an interesting question included that, for those that know my thoughts, points directly to the key insight of the next few years

Future Of Search Sites (All Online Adults; % of Age Group)
Age Group
Respondent Opinion Total 18-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Facebook or MySpace will never pose any real threat to the domination of search sites such as Google or Yahoo
Social network sites are becoming so dominant that they may become a real threat to search sites like Google or Yahoo
Not at all sure
Source: Harris Interactive, April 2009 Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

(chart reproduced from Research Brief from the Center for Media Research, reporting on this same poll).

This is the right question but the wrong audience. Most did not see the connection or possibility. They are wrong. :-) Facebook IS the "new Google," and I've been putting myself out on a limb on that for a few years now.

It doesn't have to literally be Facebook of course (although they have a good chance--Mark Zuckerberg really understanding social media and the younger generation). The key is "filtering communities" that help us sorta and prioritize information. The days of someone saying "I got 1,456,333 hits on Google for X" are numbered... this will sound like a silly idea to us soon. A massive pile of information is a given to digital natives. The key is what floats to the top and how it does it. (think Digg). Model this on natural trust relationships (like Facebook), and you've got a powerful information filter that shapes your world.

ps - notice that older people were slightly more likely to think Facebook threatens Google, even though they are less involved. Is this because they are not immersed and can observe the relative importance in chatter they're hearing their grandkids?