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Updated : Wednesday 30 November 2011

Google is the world’s most widely used search engine. Almost 70% of all web searches are done through Google, with 2.5 billion searches per day by early 2010. Google combs the web for all the articles, videos and other references containing the key word or words you have entered. Google has indexed over 10 billion web pages. Its site receives more than 775 million hits per month and it has more than 28 000 employees worldwide in 2011.

Without doubt, Google has made itself a key part of our personal as well as working lives. There are those who envy its supremacy, especially Microsoft, whose own search engine, Bing, has captured some of Google’s market share, though it is still a long way behind. Facebook, too, has joined the ranks of the world’s most powerful and influential companies, so successfully that it’s Facebook, not Google, everyone is now worrying about. People are asking how Facebook plans to use all that data about our lives and friends we have so freely given it, now it has a de facto monopoly in the field of social networking. Microsoft and Facebook have now joined forces to defeat Google, with the software giant acquiring a minority stake in the social networking website. Microsoft has acquired Skype, which Facebook has put on its site so as to offer its members a videoconferencing service.

But Google is far from giving up. Having successfully launched Android, which facilitates internet navigation using a mobile phone, it has decided to strike back, launching its new social network Google+ in June 2011, offering more functionalities than Facebook, like the chat-videoconference with friends. It will be interesting to follow this battle to see who wins: Google, which was the first to satisfy our appetite for knowledge and information, or Facebook, which has tapped into our need for social connection. Most probably, both groups will end up integrating all the services the web can offer to satisfy our noblest urges, or at least the ones we are prepared to admit to.

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