What is the future of Facebook? And no it’s not a damn phone.
I normally don’t step off my little reservation of everything Microsoft. But for right now Facebook is what’s in the news. From Mark Zuckerberg getting married to Facebook getting IPO’d and not meeting the dreams of analysist/investors and the lawsuits. Welcome to the big leagues. Where everyone has their panties in a twists and you only get forgiveness if you have an Apple logo. What’s got me putting my fingers on the keyboard is the latest rumors of Facebook considering making a phone. These rumors have been around for a while. It’s called the tech press has nothing else to write about and a rumor that seems like it has a 1% chance of becoming reality is a better story than no story at all. Eye balls & ad clicks are eye balls and ad clicks are all the same regardless of how you get them.
So why would a Facebook centric phone be a bad idea?
- For all intents and purposes all phones are Facebook phones already. Even cheap feature phones are Facebook phones. You don’t even need an app as you could update your status and send picture via sms and mms. Windows Phones have VERY deep Facebook integration. iPhones that are tied to twitter and even Android phones that are tied to Google + whether you like it our not have some kind of Facebook integration. So you be competing with yourself on other platforms and no one is going to trade in the phones and apps they currently have to use a phone that is really centered around Facebook and Facebook only.
- App, Apps, Apps! Windows phone is currently struggling to be competitive with Android and iPhone. Facebook may have 1 billion users but it doesn’t have nearly as many developers who want to make apps for Facebook. There’s no stability there. remember Draw Something and Words with Friends? They were hot for 3 weeks and then we all forgot about them. Facebook users have ADD and will easily get bored with an app & move onto the next thing.
- The mobile market is messy and expensive. if you fail at making a phone, well how do I put this? Richard Branson once said the key to becoming a millionaire is become a billionaire then buy an airline. The fastest way for Facebook to become MySpace or Friendster is to make a phone.
- Remember the MySpace phone? I don’t think that helped MySpace. This has been done and it has failed miserably. There’s already a Facebook centric phone made by HTC. Looks like a fat, flat Blackberry. How’s that doing?
- On the same day of writing this I was looking at a friends status on Facebook. His friend died. Before I could post on it I noticed that 3 people “liked” that my friends friend had died. Think on that for a while then ask if you’d like Facebook to make a phone and if you’d buy it?
Making a phone is a good way to go out of business and don’t even get me started on the rumor of Facebook buying the Opera browser. If this rumor is true then Mark Zuckerberg has never heard of rockmelt. So what is the future of Facebook? Once it gets its act together of course.
Be the definitive ID and Debit card for everyone in the world:
- You know what’s the one thing I hate to have on me and I have no choice but to carry it? My wallet! I hate carrying a dead animal pelt sown together to hold dead tree pulp, bits of met and dinosaur remains. It’s inefficient, its cumbersome, it makes my butt look big (that and the pop tarts at ice cream) and I have a tendency to lose it. Facebook and the smartphone eliminated the one piece of my wallet that made it even more cumbersome. That damn flip out folder. Together they can get rid of the wallet all together. Facebook seems to be on this path already. I can show that I’m an organ donor. But why should it stop there. Why not a drivers license? I only need to show proof that I can drive. proof that’s verifiable with the DMV. What if on a Facebook mobile app I can show all the verified ID that I need to drive, vote, or buy alcohol.
- As long as facial recognition technology can detect that a photo of you is in fact you or that there’s a default photo of you. We will no longer have to put up with those crappy photos taken at the DMV. No more stupid plastic cards that will get lost and possibly result in identity theft. Remember that in order to have a Facebook account you absolutely be who you say you are. That’s 1 ugly piece of plastic outta the way. lets get rid of some more. It’s time that PayPal had some competition. What if your bank account was tied to Facebook but encrypted? site use Facebook log in for their sites. imagine using Facebook for making purchases online and out in the world. A Facebook challenger to PayPal could use NFC and QR codes. Products, services and stores you “like” can give you instant deals (which could make Facebook the Groupon killer). It would also make lending friends money electronically so much easier.
- Kick it up a notch and replace the passport. I can’t carry my passport with me every where. if I take it over seas and lose it. It’s a pain to replace it and get back. If having my passport is as simple as having it securely stored online and tied to my online identity. Why not do it? It would end so much hassle of having and keeping your passport secure. If Facebook can kill the wallet, their future would be secure. Because in doing so, they would have secured a very large base of users. In doing so they would have secured gov’t and banking contracts. Which also means that they would have a constant flow of income.
- Be where worlds collide. We live in a world of silos and walled gardens. Locked in by our ecosystems. Facebook is in the perfect place to be a bridge between what keeps us from sharing and comparing. Where people can meet regardless of platform bias. Xbox and PSN meet. Don’t expect to be on an Xbox and play Bio shock against someone on a PlayStation. But it would be nice to compare scores and achievements. Where Photosynth, flicker and interest meet. Very few people are on one photo sharing site service. Imagine your photo album automagically (that is the only time I will use such tripe terminology) with all the photos from the various services you use. Where it doesn’t matter whether you get your music from Xbox music, iTunes or Spotify (you’ll notice that I didn’t mention Google play music. And I probably will never mention it again.) you can listen to each others music and download them depending on what service you use. Microsoft knows how to do 2 things really well that Facebook would be advised to learn from. 1 is make partnerships and 2 be a platform. Be as platform agnostic as possible.
- Speaking of Microsoft, take over as much of it as possible. Microsoft makes great software and excellent hardware. Hotmail while it has more market share than Gmail, could use some help. Gmail has succeeded at being flashy, hip and to some degree functional. It’s UI is almost what I remember it being back when I 1’st signed up for it back in the late 90’s. I love Bing. Its my go to search engine for everything. But Bing can’t survive on people who like it’s aesthetics. Facebook likes end to end control. So work on making Bing the best search engine possible. Don’t even get me started on Skype which as I’ve stated earlier needs a massive over haul. Even Xbox’s’ & Zunes’ (now Xbox music) built in social network can use some work. However people communicate, share and share using every Microsoft branded could use some of Facebook’s engineering magic. work out a way of splitting the profits and work together. For all intents and purposes the parts are all there. Microsoft has done 75% of the work for you. Go in and finish of the job and dominate.
Facebook doesn’t need a browser or its own branded phone to compete with Google and amazon. It just needs to do what it does best, but on steroids. Be a place where the world comes together. Our online identity. Do that and Facebook can be worth more than Microsoft, Apple and Google combined. I’ll be stepping of the reservation again when I spout my 2 cents on what should become on Microsoft’s So.Cl.