In light of all the news at today’s f8 conference, that lead is only going to grow… some really cool stuff rolling out by Zuck and friends. Timeline will be a game changer for the user interface of Facebook. What’s interesting is that Google+ is not factored into this grid (probably due to the June ’11 data cutoff – prior to G+ launching). They, too, are rolling out some interesting changes in their service – not to mention opening up the flood gates to all users who are interested in signing up. The gloves are coming off, for sure. Steve Rubel (EVP/Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman) says in a tweet today:
“Story of the day: Google+ and Facebook are escalating a features arms race, while Twitter is aiming to streamline <– a good move”
Not sure I agree 100% with Steve. Sure, there is something to be said for streamlining but the prevailing theory out there is that Zuckerberg is interested in ensuring that his user base does not get bored with his service. Thus, the bevy of changes that you are seeing being instituted by Facebook this week. Perhaps from his perspective, the trade off for pissing off his users is that they remain engaged, because they are forced to come back and engage with the platform – hopefully leading to them learning something new and discovering elements to facebook they weren’t aware of before. Mostly smart – unless he does something so egregious that people flee and stay away. I personally don’t see that happening. It’s a service that has become a fabric of our everyday lives… which is what he was banking on.
Infographs are fast becoming an efficient way to share stats and data in an interesting way. Alex Trimpe takes it to a different level with this video infograph. Very well done. Some pretty staggering stats in the screen cap below the video. Courtesy FastCo Design.
Mark Fidelman does a great, concise synopsis of how each of these LB Social Networks stacks up against the competition. Will be interesting to see the ramp of Facebook Places – especially when it figures out it’s game/rewards mechanics.
Anyone see the irony in this image? If I were Google, I’d be a ‘little’ bit upset with the name of the service (for the uninformed, see: Google Places). The supposed ‘Foursquare killer‘ has launched – another great example of Facebook letting others pioneer technology and then implementing a ‘copy exact’ model to a significantly larger user base. One difference? Your friends can ‘check you in’ if you allow it. That could have some interesting implications and you better really trust your ‘friends’ on Facebook to be considerate when showing you at a venue you might not be comfortable with.
Looking at the social graph tonight, I’m not sure this is quite out of beta. Only available in the United States (Foursquare – International), and many users are getting the ‘Fail Whale’ of Places – meaning… ‘This service will be available in your region soon’ note when they try to check in.
Their advantage – adoption. As ReadWriteWeb says on it’s Twitter feed:
“once I see Places, probably all my friends are on FB, only a few use 4sq. for visibility, it’s an obvious choice”
Sadly, I think they’re right. Personally, I’m still a believer in Foursquare – but I’ll probably use Places as well.
I am a fairly active user of Foursquare, not so much Gowalla – although I do have it on my phone. We are dipping our toe in the water with location based, mobile programs here at Intel (look out for my post when that program launches) and I definitely see it as a relevant, and important marketing platform for brands now and even more so in the near future. Location based services are in the news every day now and there is case study after case study of how brands are effectively using the various services in their marketing and media campaigns. Monday, Twitter announced that they are adding ‘Twitter Places‘ to their portfolio of services to give more context to people’s tweets. This is strictly an ‘opt in‘ component to your stream – if you choose not to pinpoint your exact location. What I like most about this is that Twitter didn’t cut out other players in the location game, like Foursquare and Gowalla – rather, they’ve moved forward with seamlessly integrating those services into their launch activities and opened up their API to allow for developers to integrate this functionality into their applications.
“Foursquare and Gowalla integration: Many Foursquare and Gowalla users publish check-ins to Twitter. Location is a key component of these Tweets, so we worked closely with both companies to associate a Twitter Place with Tweets generated by these services. This means that if you click on a Twitter Place, such as “Ritual Roasters,” you will see standard Tweets and check-ins from Foursquare and Gowalla.”
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Since SXSW 2009, where both Dennis Crowley and Josh Williams introduced their respective services, others have scrambled to catch up to the wave of momentum that has buoyed both companies leading efforts in this space. Last week Robert Scoble wrote a post on his site that discussed how Foursquare is in danger of losing ground to other companies (he used Yelp as the specific example) who are copying some of the key components of Foursquare’s offering (badging specifically). Scoble makes a great point when he states that Foursquare will need to continue to innovate, add features, and even suggests they go so far as to buy companies to add to their portfolio to stay ahead of the competition in the geolocation game.
Foursquare has the advantage of being the first service to the game. They’ve also got the largest user base for this specialty (1M vs. Gowalla’s ~200k). Where the danger lies is with established properties (like Yelp) that have a loyal following, significantly larger user base, and present an attractive package for acquisition by a larger company that doesn’t currently have a geolocation component (ie Google – and no, Google Latitude or Google Places do not count). If that doesn’t make you go ‘hmmmm’, keep in mind that I haven’t even mentioned Facebook and their 400M+ user base. You can bet they’re recognizing the geolocation frenzy and soon to do something about it.
I missed this great infograph a couple of months ago put out by Mashable’s Muhammad Saleem. As you can see from previous posts over the last couple of weeks, I am a fan of visual representation of data. This one does a great job of laying out what the Facebook landscape usage looks like (at least what it looked like a few months ago). I wonder if the privacy issues over the last several weeks have changed people’s behavior pattern on Zuckerberg’s social platform? I’d bet yes – but you tell me – leave a comment if you’ve changed your usage due to privacy issues. My usage is painfully average in some ways, but well beyond average in other ways. Personally – I find myself using Facebook to keep in touch with my friends, gather info, and sending good wishes to people on my friends list around celebratory life events. I don’t typically join groups – a very selective few, and ‘fan’ very few pages. What I do is mostly comment, ‘like’ and share interesting articles that I’ve come across.
I’m not sure if this graphic actually even deserves an explanation. Confusing? Yes. Do I have time to put my privacy filters through a fine toothed comb? No. From today’s New York Times:
“Facebook users who hope to make their personal information private should be prepared to spend a lot of time pressing a lot of buttons. To opt out of full disclosure of most information, it is necessary to click through more than 50 privacy buttons, which then require choosing among a total of more than 170 options.”
One word: Ridiculous. In my opinion – Facebook is counting on the vast majority of it’s users being overwhelmed to the point where they don’t even bother to review or refine their privacy settings, and exposing themselves to intrusions that are not welcome and, in some cases, dangerous.
It’s no secret that location is quickly becoming one of the key decision points when it comes to marketing to an ad receptive demographic. The newest trend is on the mobile platform – ala Foursquare and Gowalla. However, the offline practice is still very relevant (think the Zagat and it’s restaurant ratings – side note – they just integrated with Foursquare this year). Web based companies are starting to make it more relevant and more ubiquitous with their signage in local businesses. Yelp was one of the first in the growing the trend of sending out stickers to local businesses that integrate an offline analog experience with your favorite social network. Google was quick to follow with their ‘Favorite Places‘ decals. Facebook continues the trend of letting others pioneer and then swoop in to dominate an established practice due to the sheer size of their user base. Who wins moving forward? Mashable bets on Facebook.
“…one decal will prevail and we tend to think Facebook’s more than 400 million userbase and the value of an instant Fan will make Facebook’s offering especially appealing to local business owners.”
Big week for Facebook as they rolled out some big news at their annual F8 developers conference. They have cached all their live stream videos on their site. The areas that they’ve made their biggest strides in? Personalized Search, Micro-Blogging, and an increased footprint in their ever-growing Ad Network business. Pete Cashmore sums it up well in his CNN Tech Blog – going so far as to lead with the headline:
“How Facebook won the web”
I think it’s a little early for the rest of the Web players to wave the white flag of defeat, however it is impressive how Facebook is recognizing the key growth areas and making the right partnerships to win those areas. I’m personally very interested to watch the partnership with Pandora play out. We’re (Intel) currently a sponsor of the ‘sharing’ mechanism in Pandora – literally, letting your social network know through Twitter and Facebook, which song you are listening to at any given time you choose to share. The new announcement with Facebook extends that even further, sending the sharing both directions. Full details on the Pandora FAQ page. Smart companies, smart partnership.