Why Facebook will take over the internet
A battle is brewing. The current tech behemoth Google, has already severely hurt the old guard in Microsoft and is readying itself for a fight with the relative new kid on the block, Facebook. In the 3 or so short years that Facebook’s platform has been publicly available there is no denying the tremendous growth it has experienced. With over 500 million active users worldwide and time spent statistics in many countries reaching unimagined heights, such as Australia where almost 30% of all time spent online is spent on Facebook, its clear something has shifted. And it’s that shift that will propel Facebook to internet dominance.
Let go back to 1975. That was the year that an unknown kid by the name of Bill Gates and his partner Paul Allen made a big bet on a platform, the personal computer. The rise of that platform has propelled Microsoft toward world domination. These days Microsoft is a multi-billion corporation who’s Windows operating system powers roughly 95% of PC’s around the world. The problem that Microsoft faces though is that the personal computer market is fragmenting, or at the very least the reasons people need a computing device are. The rise of the smart-phone was the beginning of a more pronounced trend which is now being extended through the tablet. So as the needs of consumers has changed, so has the PC, and Microsoft have so far failed to exert its dominance across the ever increasing number of devices used by consumers.
Then Google came along. Larry Page and Sergey Brin realised that the internet was breaking down peoples reliance on personal (un-connected) technology platforms. Products, services and information was moving online. This change in availability resulted in another change, behavior. The vast space that is the internet more often than not requires an individual to search for something. I mean there is so much out there that anytime you need to find something that you aren’t intimately familiar with you need to be shown where it is. This change in behavior has been monopolised and exploited to the n’th degree by Google. Its brilliant really, as the internet grows, so will the need to search and so will Google’s bank balance! However now Google is beginning to face a problem and that problem is that people’s behaviors are changing again, or more particularly peoples filter system is changing. Instead of everyone conducting their own individual search process, finding, assessing and ultimately deciding what the most appropriate answer to their search question is, people are beginning to rely on each other. Or more appropriately individuals online are becoming connections, friends, groups, crowds, communities…they are becoming social.
This is where Facebook comes in. Whether or not Mark Zuckerberg quite understood what he was creating in his dorm room back in 2004 who knows. However what he did create has harnessed and exploded a movement. A movement towards the socialisation of the internet, an internet of connection, sharing and collaboration. This movement has transformed the web with new socially centered experiences and applications appearing almost daily. But a social movement is no fun if you are on your own and that is the power that Facebook now possesses. With 500 million active members around the world (estimated at 28% of the worlds online population) the odds are that if you sign up today you will know at least a few other people using the service. This monumental user base coupled with the sometimes overwhelming movement toward social experiences puts Facebook on the fast track to internet domination. This isn’t just theory either, Facebook has literally become a web within a web, A place where men, women, and children alike spend hours each week, where brands try to connect with potential consumers and where people like you and me search, play and share.
So if the battle for internet domination is on, where is the smart money going?
Well Microsoft dominates a platform – but the market is fragmenting;
And Google dominates a behavior – which is changing;
And Facebook dominates a movement – which is exploding.
What are your thoughts?