Facebook is rolling out yet another new feature this week. Community Pages aims to make static items in a user's profile -- from interests in origami to Cajun cooking to velvet paintings -- into pages populated with content and fellow aficionados.

Yes, folks have always been able to create their own pages or become fans of third-party tributes. However, having Facebook take on the opportunity to create millions of new hubs -- and dynamically linking to them from within a registered user's profile -- is as huge as it is logical.

Should Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) be worried? You bet. All three leading search engines feast on queries. Where's the nearest Thai restaurant? When does the ski season end in Colorado? Who is the actress in the Mummy movies?

The three major search engines thrive on inquisitiveness. Connecting information-seekers with advertisers who can profit from the responses is the secret sauce of paid search.

Well, what happens if folks don't need to go to Google, Yahoo!, or Microsoft because they can rely on like-minded souls for answers and vetted recommendations?

Social networking has always been a threat to search engines. That's the reason AOL (NYSE: AOL) snapped up Bebo in a $850 million deal and Google was at one point willing to fork over $300 million a year to syndicate its ads through News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS) MySpace.

Most of the ventures have proved disappointing. MySpace has grown stale, AOL may dump Bebo, and organic initiatives including Google Buzz and Yahoo! Mash have been uninspiring.

But there's only one Facebook, and it has an impressive accelerator pedal.  


Facebook Users


100 million


150 million


200 million


250 million


300 million


350 million


400 million

Source: blog.facebook.com.

Facebook recently overtook Google in terms of this country's website traffic, according to Internet traffic analyst Hitwise. It didn't seem like a major event, because Google knows how to monetize its page views infinitely better than Facebook did. However, the stickier Facebook gets, the harder it will be for traditional search engines to woo the traffic that they can turn into leads for sponsors.

It's time to take the Facebook threat seriously.

Can Facebook really derail Google's growth? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz remembers when social networks were an offline endeavor. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story and is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.