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Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Rising Facebook Frenzy

Christopher Beam writes that if Facebook adds e-mail, IM, and RSS, it's one step closer to becoming as comprehensive as Yahoo! and as popular as MySpace. The rest of the Internet might as well surrender.I wrote about the Facebook phenomenon a few days back.
With the Facebook platform in vogue, outside developers will fall over themselves to deliver great content to Facebook users. The site's growing audience, sterling reputation, and clean look are catnip for corporations. Marc Andreessen points out that veterans of the software industry have, hardcoded into their DNA, the assumption that in any fight between a platform and an application, the platform will always win. He explains,

"platform" is a system that can be reprogrammed and therefore customized by outside developers - users - and in that way, adapted to countless needs and niches that the platform's original developers could not have possibly contemplated, much less had time to accommodate. In contract an application cannot be reprogrammed by outside developers. It is a closed environment that does whatever its original developers intended it to do, and nothing more.

Fellow irregular Jeff Nolan writes about the new distribution ecosystem play that Facebook is pioneering. Facebook plans to add a "wallet" feature for processing online payments. But for the site to really take off, it needs to have an instant messaging system as easy to use as Google's, as well as an embeddable inbox that connects to Hotmail, Yahoo!, and the like. says christopher. The fact that Facebook hasn't introduced some sort of RSS feed for news—real news, not News Feed news—also borders on inexcusable, he argues - a point which, I fully agree with.

Mark elaborates that Facebook's viral distribution mechanism by which users became instantly aware of which applications their friends are using, can with one click start using those applications, and automatically spread them to their friends is the killer there. Happening in an environment with 24 million active users -- active users defined as users active on the site in the last 30 days. 50% of active users return to the site daily. 100,000 new users join per day. 45 billion page views per month and growing. 50 million users, and a lot more page views, predicted by the end of 2007. An application that takes off on Facebook is very quickly adopted by hundreds of thousands, and then millions - in days! - and then ultimately tens of millions of users.

The API’s released by most other players have mostly been for interacting with a web system from the outside, with limited abilities for . programmability and customizability enabled by a true platform – this makes a huge difference. In a recent meeting , I heard someone saying that MySpace is the next Microsoft and here comes the view that Facebook could overtake Google or Yahoo. I wont endorse either of the points, but I do think that Facebook has the potential to become big. Once cal also expect an IPO from them –that would be followed by buyouts of its competitors by other players or it can also buy players operating in proximate space,. The facebbok frenzy, for sure would create lasting impact in the world of social networks.

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