Facebook on Collision Course With Google on Web Searches

After years of collecting photos and personal data from its billion-plus members, Facebook Inc. FB -0.75%Tuesday unveiled a search tool that sifts through people's profiles—and pushes the social network deeper into Google Inc.'s GOOG -1.37%home turf.

The two companies are vying to become the primary gateway to the Internet. Google has long served as a destination to find websites and information; Facebook, to share gossip and photos with friends. But those distinctions are increasingly blurring, and billions in advertising dollars are at stake.

The social network said Tuesday it will enable members to conduct complex queries related to their friends' profiles, such as "tourist attractions in France visited by my friends."

In doing so, Facebook is attacking Google's core strength and its most lucrative product—search—in a bid to convince people they might not need to use Google to find information.

Google generates the majority of its $40 billion in annual revenue world-wide from selling ads on its search engine. In the U.S., Google was projected to make more than $13 billion in search-ad revenue, or 75% of the entire market, in 2012, according to research firm eMarketer Inc.

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