Facebook, the platform.

by alec on May 25, 2007

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. 

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