Internet search engine Google Inc on Sunday played down its rivalry with social networking site Facebook, but said social media was an absolutely part of its strategy and that it would be embedded in many of its products, media reports said.

Google was at the center of an exploding digital economy and innovation was crucial to survival, its Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said.

Search is clearly the core product of Google but many of our other products are having phenomenal trajectories. The first driving principle of Google is in fact not money -- the first driving principle of Google is understanding that the Internet is changing the world, Pichette was quoted as saying to an Australian public television channel.

He said Amazon and Apple were the frontrunners in the technology race with Microsoft being a formidable competitor.

However, Pichette played down suggestions that Facebook was Google’s next big rival.

Facebook’s launch of a next-generation messaging service is seen as a major challenge to Google’s Gmail and other web-based e-mail providers like Yahoo! and Microsoft.

According to ComScore, an online tracking firm, Microsoft’s Hotmail has the most users with 361.7 million as of September, followed by Yahoo! with 273.1 million and Gmail with 193.3 million users worldwide.

The digital world is exploding and it has so many chapters -- it has cloud computing, it has mobile, it does have social, it has searches, it has so many elements. Within that... social (networking) is just one chapter. Yes, absolutely it will be part of our strategy, yes it will be embedded in many of our products. But at the same time remember it's one chapter of an entire book, said Pichette.

Google sees Andriod platform for mobile devices as an opportunity for the company as it powers 200,000 handsets every 24 hours.

Now that everybody has a smartphone everybody searches, so these few hundred engineers (who developed Android) have accelerated (a market that) would have taken 10 years to develop into a few years. My payback is absolutely unreal,” Pichette said.

Android users also performed searches 50 times more frequently than people using other mobile devices, with obvious benefits for Google, he said.