I recently made a friendly wager with a friend of mine: Facebook will not be around in two years. My friend joins the more mainstream viewpoint that Facebook is a massively valuable web application and i respectfully disagree.
Let me explain my case.
First, technology is increasing exponentially. Ray Kurzweil may be the most famous proponent of this concept, and nowhere is it more apparent than the world of online applications. The world is still figuring out what the internet is good for, and Facebook is simply the shining star of the current leading edge.
Second, internet users(especially young ones, which make up the majority of Facebook users) are notoriously fickle. There is a fine line walked between popularity and passe, MySpace has crossed it, Facebook is getting precariously close to it.
Third, The Google. Google already handles a huge portion of ‘social’ functions on the web for millions of users. Email, scheduling and calendering, document collaboration are all done exceptionally well by Google, and they are working on social networking.
Now what do we really get out of Facebook? “The Wall” ? i guess, but i prefer Twitter. Connections? yeah, thats good, but I don’t need it every day. PhotoShare? They have done it better than most, but its no category killer.
The real downfall of Facebook, and where Google will bring the fatal blow, is that FaceBook is limited to the internet. I have to be online to get any value from it. This is not where I want my social mastery to take place. It’s a great little online community, but the sun is shining. There is a world out there.
Google is developing the gPhone. A handheld device to compete with the iPhone and give seamless access to all Google functions from a mobile device. As Google develops the gPhone, they will be moving more aggressively into social networking. Give the gPhone GPS capabilities and suddenly my online social network is a mobile enabled Geo-Social Network!
“Your friend Doug is in your town.”
“Your friend Mary is leaving this country.”
“There are 10 single women in this vicinity” 😉
Geo-Social Networking via integrated mobile device will be the Facebook killer. I give it less than 2 years. Passive social awareness, (The Wall, Twitter) is great, but i don’t want to bother with input most of the time. My GPS gPhone will handle the spacial location aspects of this for me.
Facebook gone by october 2009.