Readers of this blog will know that I have been a Facebook bull since the botched Yahoo acquisition attempt. I have iterated that I see Facebook as a technology company trying to own the indentity layer of the internet (AKA the social graph), and that I think it will succeed. When it does, the $15b valuation Microsoft paid for its stake will look like a bargain.
Now comes the first serious analyst report (from RBC's Ross Sandler, via SAI) that bills Facebook as a threat to Google:
Facebook Could Surpass Google In 2011/2012: If we
assume modest deceleration in growth for both sites (an 85% CAGR for
Facebook and a 20% CAGR for Google), Facebook could surpass Google in
terms of total worldwide uniques, by late-2011 or early-2012.
The argument is based on an extrapolation of the traffic Facebook is sending Google's way, which is growing incredibly rapidly. See graph below, as well as the SAI link for further data.
I think there is a point. Some will argue that the comparison of Facebook and Google is irrelevant and that one is a social media property while the other is a search engine. I think it is relevant since the monetization path to both companies goes thorough attention. Google is great at putting relevant messages in the attention span of the population. Facebook is perhaps the only other company that can make a similar claim.
So, it's interesting to note the birth of the Facebook vs. Google meme.