The Social Platform
From my personal blog yesterday-
I quit Facebook once. I didn’t quit it out of annoyance or some noble protest of some policy. I wasn’t using it. I kept up with my friends in real life and enjoyed the simplicity of Twitter. I eventually got back on it for two main reasons: to keep up with family, many of whom are in Ireland, and to use the login as an OpenID. It really was that simple.
That was then.
After today’s announcements, one thing is clear: Facebook is no longer a social network. A social network allows you a way to interact with your friends and meet new people on the internet. This is no longer what Facebook does. Facebook is a software platform.
Oh sure, there have been apps, games, and even OpenGraph. But never has it been more like our mobile operating systems. Think about what you can do (and what you normally do) in iOS or Android. Read messages, read the news, listen to music, watch NetFlix, interact with your friends. Facebook now does all of those things and it does them under the umbrella of its own site.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this. To me, it’s no different than being forced to use Bing on Windows Phone 7 but it is what it is and surely people will like it. It’s also a bold step that will steer the direction of the internet.
Pseudo-techies will tell you to look to the future and the future is Google+. Old time techies will tell you that all these social networks are the same and don’t really do anything. But the truth is that Facebook wants to be the place people stop on the web and for a lot of people, it already is. Thanks to today’s announcements, it will be for a whole lot more people.