Sunday, October 10, 2010

Does Facebook Want To Be WORLDbook...

500,000,000 members worldwide who have an average of 139 friends, who spend a combined 700,000,000,000 minutes a month on the site, of which 50% of them log into a site with over 1,000,000 other websites integrated into it, ** Does this company POSE A THREAT to the established order?? Coming to a blog near you!

We are going to jump around in this post and demonstrate how much Facebook is being used.  An interesting article came up in lifehacker.  It covered party invitation and how they are being done now.  A comparison was made among the 5 most popular services for digital invitations, Facebook, Evite, Google Calendar, Pingg, and Paperless Post.  Here are the results in a poll of about 2,000 people.  Facebook got 39%, Evite 26%, Google Calendar 22% , Pingg 6% and Paperless Post 4%.  This demonstrated that although Facebook was not conceived with this purpose in mind it has transformed itself in the main place where people communicate online.  

Facebook vs Twitter
Facebook is taking aim at another company that has been in its periphery - Twitter.  Twitter created a listing feature which allowed you to create lists of people based on a common interest.  Anyone can follow these lists, however, and furthermore you can know how many lists a user has and who are members of it.  This will not be true of the Facebook groups.  The groups will give users more control over their privacy.  Only 10,000 Twitter members have lists and only lists have over 10,000 people following it.

Facebook and Sony Playstation 3
In the latest firmware upgrade Sony has made it possible for game developers to connect to Facebook's HUGE database of people's photographs and information as well as friendships, if the Facebook user permits it of course.  The integration of the game and the ones real friends could be fascinating.  One example is a racing game where instead of seeing a regular billboard you see your friend's picture on it as you drive by.  Another example is you might be fighting someone who looks like your Facebook friend OR the game might integrate your favorite bands listed in your profile while you play.  The aim of this endeavor is to be able to play the same game on different devices such as an iPhone, a PS3, a PC etc., through the common Facebook connect.  One can see how much power this relationship gives Facebook. Here is a video demonstrating how it is done.  We are certain that the xBox will be included in this soon.

Randal Munroe  and His Online Community Map
Produced on his site, Munroe makes a fascinating but not totally inaccurate map of the online world.

Facebook vs 4Square and Gowalla
This month Facebook obtained a patent to be able to on "Systems and methods for automatically locating web based social network members."  The patent concerns a "method of sharing locations of users participating in a social networking service at a geographic location."  The mobile device connects to the Facebook website and allows friends to see where another friend is.  This of course is bad news for 4Square and Gowalla. This is part of their new "Facebook Places."  The author of this article hopes that Facebook will not go "Microsoft" on startup companies.   We beg to differ with him that this is business not charity.

Downloading all Your Information From Facebook into a ZIP file
This feature will be implemented shortly.  This format will not be compatible with other Social Networks.

New Groups Feature, Group Chats and Email Lists
This is a video briefly explaining it. In the video, the reporter is very perceptive in asking if this new service will compete with Google and other sites and of course the answer is yes.  The representative of Facebook says that their goal is not to keep people logged on to Facebook but to provide a quality experience.  This is of course a cover story.  The only way they can keep people logged on is by making it a quality experience.  But the GOAL is to have you use Facebook for EVERYTHING.

There are three parts to this new "shared space."  First of course is the ability to have separate email lists. Second is group chats, (which will soon involve video conferencing WITHIN Facebook since Facebook bought Skype).  Third is the already mentioned shared space (group).  WOW!  Does this sound familiar??  YES!  Sounds like Google Groups, Google Chat, and Gmail.  Now we see who they are targeting.

Another new feature announced, is the new "dashboard" called "applications you use."  This feature allows others to see what apps you are using and how they are being used if they involve them, which they might since they are your friends.  This again is their very clever effort to unify ALL services under the Facebook roof.  John Paczkowski from All Things Digital is completely correct when he says:
Making these advances possible is something Facebook refers to as “Social Design.” This is why Shared Space is called “space” and isn’t just a simple friend filter–even though that’s really what it appears to be. This is all, of course, part of Facebook’s “share more” philosophy, and the company clearly thinks that by allowing users to share more privately–i.e., within smaller groups of friends–they will share more. That means more user activity and data for Facebook, and the privacy concerns that go along with that.

In case you think what we are saying about Facebook's goals is purely our idea, we will cite some others who have in our opinion seen the light.   Dan Frommer from Business Insider, states that Facebook with these new features is working against the following companies, Google with their now ending product called Wave, 37signals makers of the Campfire chat service, Yammer which is a Twittering service for companies, Asana a group collaborations site being developed by Facebook cofounder Daniel Moskovitz.  In another article by Mr. Frommer in Business Insider, he titles it Apple, Facebook, and Google Go To War.  Without wanting to brag this article was dated September 20th but we posted something about it before this.  We see that Mr. Frommer  see eye to eye on a Facebook phone coming out.  He cites the man who got the scoop on this Mike Arrington from TechCrunch.  Again we find ourselves agreeing with Mr. Frommer.  He cites another article with Joe Hewitt in which the things Mr. Hewitt says about the Android system on phones has been our experience from observing them.  We think that for now, the Facebook phone will be using Android BUT, that will eventually change once Facebook feels up to the task.  Just like for now, Facebook will interface with as many other applications and web services they can, but then over time, they will pick off those which they deem most vulnerable and profitable for them.

Apple is also working on a social site.  It is called Ping!  It begins with music but it will become much more.  Again Mr. Frommer agrees.  Of course for Google that goose that lays the golden eggs is its search engine.  Of course as Mr. Frommer states and we have come to realize as well (this one is his folks), the search business on mobile devices will not be same as the search business on computers.  As the app markets like iTunes store and the to a lesser degree the Android app store inspire searches for apps let's say with the name Facebook - they are NOT using google search for that.  Since this is Google's core business this should be very wearisome for them. This is why Android is SO important for them since it will give them an ever increasing share of the search market in their app store.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft is using Facebook to make Bing better by making it track all those little like hands in thousands of webpages, thus making a better semantic map of the web.

Coming in stealthily and slowly is Amazon.  It is trying to get into this goldmine through ebooks and its web cloud services.  NO ONE should think them stupid of slow as the success of the Kindle has shown.  The iPad has not been able to destroy it.

So what is our conclusion in all of this.  Facebook has the upper hand BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE PEOPLE already, 500,000,000 of them.  These giants will continue to fight it out for years perhaps until someone gets a strategic by their opponents making a mistake or some chance of luck and gain advantage to dominate the market.  For now, my money is on Facebook.

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