Facebook v Google

The irony, of course, is that Facebook and Google both are in a constant struggle to respect users’ privacy while mining as much personal information as possible for the companies’ advertisers. All that social information we plug into Facebook when we “like” a pair of shoes on Zappos or update our status about future wedding plans helps the company serve us up ads for things we’re more likely to want. This has made Facebook into the go-to advertising platform for big marketers hoping to do brand advertising at scale on the web. As a result, even though Facebook’s revenue is minuscule compared with Google’s, it is growing at a much faster rate. It is expected to surge to $4.3 billion this year, or more than double the $2 billion it had last year, according to eMarketer. In contrast, analysts predict that Google’s revenue will grow just 30%, to $38 billion.

From the November 21, 2011, issue of Fortune.

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