Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg revitalized belief in the company earlier this week by announcing that the company is looking to combine its dominance in the social media field with the increasingly lucrative mobile search sector. On the heels of this and other statements, the company's stock experienced its single biggest day's advance since its IPO, finishing Wednesday's regular trading session up 7.7 percent at $20.93
As Google (GOOG) has demonstrated, there are few areas of technology as lucrative as search, and as mobile devices continue to increase their percentage of overall search, mobile search becomes more and more profitable. If Facebook can manage to leverage its enormous user base (reported to be 955 million) to trigger more mobile search queries it will begin to build a viable revenue stream.
Here are some of the most notable comments Zuckerberg made at his presentation at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 Conference in San Francisco.
- Facebook is already processing 1 billion search queries per day
- While most searches are to find other people, many are also for businesses/brands and apps.
- Search is a "big opportunity" and is one that Facebook is "uniquely positioned" to go after.
- Facebook already has a team working on search.
Other Mobile Search and Advertising Players to Watch
Apple (AAPL) showed earlier this year with its $50 million acquisition of Chomp that it is serious about improving its own mobile search engine. Its upcoming iOS 6 is expected to include several Chomp inspired improvements, including improved app discovery and recommendation in its App Store. But there are other vendors out there who may already have a leg up in the areas of mobile search and mobile app search and advertising in particular.
LiveDeal (LIVE) delivers online marketing internet directory services for small and medium sized companies. LiveDeal's stock shot up 7.5% in the premarket Thursday with the news that the company had brought Skype's former head of business development, Perry Teevens on board. Teevens will be responsible for strategic partnerships in his newly formed position of Senior Vice President Business Development. The company offers InstantProfile, which distributes small businesses key contact information to search engines, online directories and social media networks, enabling advertisers to manage their businesses information into one location. It also allows companies to enhance their reach into various destinations a customer may search for.
Mimvi (MIMV.OB) has been called the "Google of mobile search platforms." Its search engine has become a leading platform for providing search services for Mobile Apps, Mobile Content, and Mobile Products across all platforms including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows devices. Mimvi offers Amazon-like recommendations under each search result it presents. Mimvi's recent acquisition of Lone Wolf Inc. and its Smash Networks (which claims to have an online community of 79 million) are expected to extend the company's reach into social networks and change how mobile apps are marketed.
The newly combined entity is developing Mimvi Echo, a new mobile app discovery service, scheduled for launch in October, which is designed to make the process of marketing mobile apps affordable and effective for the growing community of developers. Mimvi expects to leverage Lone Wolf's social media reach and community to provide mobile users with targeted marketing campaigns, creating a win for both developers and consumers alike. The company describes its efforts as creating a "Super Platform" designed to combine consumer data driven app development, marketing, lead generation and cultivation, content creation, publishing and syndication under one roof.
Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd.
Qihoo 360 (QIHU) provides internet and mobile security and advertising products in the People's Republic of China. Its main products in the mobile arena include 360 Mobile Safe, a security program for Android, Apple iOS and Nokia Symbian smartphone. It also provides online advertising services including online marketing, services and search referral services. The war for search dominance in China recently heated up considerably when Qihoo 360 took a shot at the dominant Baidu by releasing its own search engine. While Baidu still claims technological dominance over the Chinese search market, Qihoo has been bolstered by a likely partnership with Google.
Youku Tudou Inc.
Youku Tudou Inc. (YOKU) operates as an internet television company in China. Its internet television platform allows users to search, view and share video across numerous devices. The company's content includes professionally produced TV serial dramas, variety shows and music videos. It also provides user-generated content. Youku Tudou also offers online video search and discovery, iPhone and iPad channels. It also offers online advertising services to companies operating in consumer goods, IT, automobile, electronics, telecom and other sectors. With the rise of social video and other targeted ads, Youku Tudou looks well positioned going forward.
Blucora (BCOR) provides so-called "white label" search and monetization solutions to web publishers worldwide. The company also operates its own branded search sites including Dogpile, a metasearch engine in addition to MetaCrawler and WebCrawler. Blucora reported a sixth consecutive quarter that exceeded expectations in the second quarter of 2012.
With its new emphasis on search, Facebook has created hope that it can monetize its growing mobile user base along the same model as Google has employed. Whether it can successfully leverage its massive user base and effectively compete with Google and the other established players in the mobile search and advertising arenas remains to be proven. But these other, smaller players are all beginning to carve out inviting and profitable niches in these fields and are definitely worth a look.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.