Facebook's been stepping into Google territory as quietly as possible (see "It's NOT e-mail!") for some time now, but a recent move in which the social network king asked users to set Facebook as their homepage is anything but shy.
Word is the suggestion started appearing over the weekend to a small set of users via a bar at the top of the page. Approaches include: “Drag this to your home button to see what’s happening with friends as soon as you open your browser" and “See what’s happening with [insert friend's name here], [insert friend's name here] and the rest of your friends the moment you open your browser” --both of which include user photos of friends:
Photo credit: Ryan Merket
Does Facebook need the traffic? Ha! Not likely. In the last year, the number of unique U.S. visitors to Facebook has increased from 97 million to 151 million (that's 55 percent), according to comScore data. But, does Facebook need the additional traffic a homepage suggestion would bring if it hopes to outdo Google's traffic? Absolutely.
"It’s a very old trick, and arguably a mighty effective one," noted Robin Wauters of TechCrunch. "Ask people to set your website as their homepage, and it will become their entry point to the Web, the very first thing they’ll see when they open their browser."
Indeed, should Facebook's 500+ million users begin to adopt the social network as their homepage of choice, it would certainly mean a bit of bad news for Google. The Internet giant is already facing some unease with the release of Facebook's new messaging system and Open Graph Search Engine.
As social media growth continues to escalate and intensify, so does the need for Google to release its own version of a social network platform-- if the company expect to compete in this pool, of course. Unfortunately for those looking forward to the fight, the only Google Me news as of late is Kim Zolciak's rendition of "Google Me" on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Talk about disappointment.
You'll probably see Facebook's suggestion bar at some point over the next few weeks. The question is, will you change your homepage? Let us know why or why not.