How Google compares with Facebook

Updated: April 04, 2012 11:13 IST
Google Inc. is taking the threat posed by Facebook Inc.'s Internet social network more seriously since co-founder Larry Page returned as CEO a year ago. Although Facebook is far smaller than Google, Page is worried the social network is gaining valuable insight into its users' lives that could lure away online advertisers.
How Google compares with Facebook
Google co-founder Larry Page has a Facebook fixation. When he replaced his mentor Eric Schmidt as Google's CEO last April, Page insisted that the company had to be more aggressive about countering the threat posed by Facebook's ever-growing popularity.
How Google compares with Facebook
The Facebook obsession has already led to Google's creation of its own social network, Google+, and inspired changes in Google's privacy practices and Internet search results. However, if you go by numbers, Facebook's annual revenue stands at a miniature $3.7 billion against the Internet giant's massive $38 billion revenue. Google's annual income of $9.7 billion, too, far outshadows that of Facebook's $668 million net income.
How Google compares with Facebook
Google is zealously trying to protect its online advertising empire. But, fretting about Facebook may seem like overkill, given Google's dominance of the Internet's lucrative search and advertising market. Last year, Google sold $36.5 billion in advertising — 10 times more than Facebook's $3.2 billion.
How Google compares with Facebook
Google couldn't use most of that data to refine its search engine and other products, which is why it developed its own social network. Since its debut nine months ago, Google Plus has attracted more than 100 million users. Although it lags Facebook's 845 million, the number is far greater than Facebook's tally at that stage in its history.
How Google compares with Facebook
Page also is trying to win over Wall Street. Although Google is more prosperous than ever, its stock hasn't kept pace with the rest of the technology sector. Some investors have been turned off by Google's rising expenses under Page. Others were alarmed by a drop in the prices paid for Google's search-driven ads late last year. The company's stock price has climbed by 9 percent since Page became CEO, but that trailed a 12 percent gain in the technology-laden Nasdaq composite index. The broader S&P 500 index, which includes Google, has risen by 6 percent over the same period.
How Google compares with Facebook
Meanwhile, Facebook's threat figures might become even greater after the company emerges from an initial public offering of stock, which is likely to be completed next month. The IPO is expected to raise $5 billion and generate free publicity that could attract even more traffic to Facebook. The IPO will likely eclipse Google's 2004 stock market debut as the biggest for a U.S. Internet company.
How Google compares with Facebook
In terms of the company size, too, Google far outweighs its social networking counterpart. Google employs 32,500 people globally. Facebook, in comparison, has 3,200 employees.

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