Big splash made by Facebook yesterday. Perhaps bigger than anyone imagined. Zuckerberg's vision of Facebook as a social networking utility is real. It's especially impressive how well it has been executed. They are playing to:
- remove the need for developers to build individual social networking structures. Want to build a new social network about sharing movies? Start with your facebook friends and groups, and add a movie ranking system. Seems as Flixster might already understand this, as they've jumped aboard with their social network now presented as a Facebook widget.
- make it possible for social network users to consolidate their networks into a single infrastructure moving forward. I don't need to participate in those other networks if Facebook is the networking platform.
- build a compelling distribution channel for social applications. Add a new applet to your Facebook profile, and everyone in your network gets notified.
Mashable has a list of 30 of the new Facebook apps, and more are coming. Go browse my profile if you want to see the Splashcast widget in use as well. I created a quickie slideshow of some recent photos in about 5 minutes, just to test it out. It's down on the right side.
If you believe that Facebook is right, and that social networking is now a utility for other applications, then:
- What do you do if you're a VoIP player, like Skype, that runs a closed social network? Fight them or join them? Smaller players like YackPack are already jumping on the Facebook bandwagon with their WalkieTalkie.
- What do you do if you're a portal player, with an ambition to own your customers' identity? Facebook's move has the potential to niche Google pretty solidly in search.
- How about a traditional social networking application like Plaxo or Linkedin (two of my mainstays!)? I added a little widget called The Online Phonebook today, which keeps phonebooks in synch. And how much effort would it be to build a recruiting application on top of Facebook, especially since the target market is … college students.
Food for thought.