From The Ground Up

Fwd: Engineering, startups and life

Facebook Is A a) Website, b) Social Network, c) Platform, d) Web OS

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I have more to say about this topic, but in the meantime I wanted to post a few points before I head out. This was a tweet I posted last year.

  1. Facebook, through partnerships and in-house development, is looking more and more like a personal Web OS. Their API allowed them to become a ubiquitous platform, but they are now developing rich applications that exist within the Facebook experience. Although not an OS is the strictest sense of the term, Facebook is becoming more than a set of APIs and more than a platform. It is becoming, or aiming to become, the place users start the digital experience, the place users call home on the web.
  2. In an earlier post I talk about the evolution of the web. Facebook has undergone a similar evolution, and is in fact undertaking a second iteration of this evolution.
    • Iteration I
      • Phase i — Communications. The introduction of the wall and private messages. Simple and powerful.
      • Phase ii — Gaming/Entertainment. Pictures, Pokes and early applications. Feels obvious now, but at the time these features were ground-breaking, new and fresh. Pictures became the chief driver of engagement.
      • Phase iii — Commerce. Gifts were a simple version of this. Eventually faded out of the feature set, the ideation behind this feature eventually drove Facebook Credits.
    • Iteration II
      • Phase i — Communications. Skype is the big kahuna here. Now that M$ owns Skype and a percentage of Facebook, you can bet there will be tighter integration. Skype has already integrated Facebook chat into it’s product and I expect Facebook to reciprocate and integrate Skype into their own experience. Zuckerberg has already made it clear that communication modes are a vital part of the Facebook experience with the new Messaging system.
      • Phase ii — Gaming/Entertainment. Zynga is old news but I consider their growth and expansion the early part of this phase. More significantly, it is expected that Facebook will announce a partnership with Spotify. Integrations like this are what force me to call Facebook a Web OS. Facebook wants to enrich the user experience and drive even more engagement. Imagine watching videos, listening to music a la radio all through Facebook.
      • Phase iii — Commerce. Facebook Credits. Boom. This is a product unto itself and is still so early but will eventually be a huge cash cow for Facebook. I think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg here. Think subscriptions, virtual goods, physical goods, retail, local integration with Places, the sky is the limit here for Facebook.

These are my thoughts that I’ve had drafted for a while and just wanted to push out. I’ll update and clarify some points in the near future.

Happy Canada Day!

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Written by Girish Rao

July 1, 2011 at 22:10

Posted in Uncategorized

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