12/09/2012 13:41 | By Gemma Freeman, contributor

No Facebook phone, but yes to Facebook search engine

Zuckerberg says the social media giant is working on a Google rival


Mark Zuckerberg speaking at Tech Crunch in San Francisco (© PA)

Facebook will not be launching a phone - but is working on a search engine, confirmed founder Mark Zuckerberg.
On the day Apple's iPhone 5 launches, and the week after Nokia's Lumia 720 and 920 was launched with Windows Phone 8, it would seem the next obvious step for Zuckerberg's social empire would be to also release a smartphone. But, no: "A Facebook phone doesn't make sense."

"That's always been the wrong strategy for us," he said at the live Tech Crunch Disrupt event in San Francisco.

"It's a juicy thing to say we're building a phone, which is why people want to write about it. But it's so clearly the wrong strategy for us."

"If we did, we could get maybe 10 or 15 million people to use it, but the strategy we have is different from every other tech company that's building their own hardware system, like Apple. We're going in the opposite direction. We want to build a system which is as deeply as possible integrated into every major device people want to use."

Mobile is everything said Zuckerberg, who revealed another development for the social media monolith - a potential search engine to rival Google and Bing.

Mark Zuckerberg at the Tech Crunch event in San Francisco (© PA)

Search: a new focus for Facebook?
Despite its stock price fall, Facebook already boasts multiple ways of "answering people's questions" - and this is where their search will focus.

"We're basically doing one billion queries a day and we're not even trying," he said.

"Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have. At some point we'll do it. We have a team working on it.

"Search engines are really evolving to give you a set of answers, 'I have a specific question, answer this question for me.'"

Google launched its latest social network Google+ last year. But, after a big initial buzz, the network has fallen flat leaving users unengaged to become a community ghost town, populated only by Google staff.

So, with Facebook fast becoming a one-stop-shop for the entire web for many users, it makes sense for the social network to follow Google with a rival search engine. Facebook currently uses Microsoft's Bing as its default search-engine on the network. There were widespread news reports in April that Microsoft has actually tried to sell Bing to Facebook in the past.

From its beginnings as a place for Harvard University students to post dodgy party pictures and network with peers, Facebook is now one of the biggest players in the web. Through mobile, desktop or tablet, users still communicate with friends and family - now via email, chat or even call through the site.

But they can also consume their entire media diet, through apps from giants like the Guardian and New York Post, to live daily feeds from favourite blogs. Face-stalking has also gone legit too, since the "subscribe" option was introduced, allowing you to follow updates from celebs, athletes, politicians and more.

Social media is built on human communication - so question-answering and keeping those conversations within the Facebook experience makes total sense. But, will they match the big boys of Google and Bing or sink like Yahoo? Let's Ask Jeeves.

MSN Tech & Gadgets is owned by Microsoft.

What does the web think about Facebook going into search? Here's some top tweets:

@toddbacile
Could Facebook jump into the search engine market and triple its stock price? http://ow.ly/1Ov7JW via @sai

@MrWordsWorth
Facebook is building its own search engine so you can find all the things you want to avoid on Facebook faster.

@MindbIowingFact
One of the greatest fears on ''Facebook'' is accidentally using the status update as the search bar.

‏@benparr
Facebook gets a billion search queries daily. Without trying. That's impressive. #DancesWithZuck #TCDisrupt

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