I was probably one of the first to join the Facebook and one of the first ones to join Google+. Orkut was the close product that came close to social network. But soon the Facebook simplicity made me to move from Orkut to Facebook. The fun part was that I DID find my old school friends, college friends, colleagues, family and neighbors on the Facebook. Probably Facebook was the only product that understood people’s “need to connect”. The more i used Facebook, i got addicted to it. Because all my friends are on Facebook and we shared videos, photos, ideas, reviews and views. I was so addictive on Facebook that I used to wish people on the Facebook for their birthdays and anniversaries instead of calling them. Soon, things changed, Facebook started sharing the likes and my data to companies for the advertisements. Facebook’s CEO started commenting that the “privacy is dead”. I could not close my Facebook account (only deactivate). I could not get all my data back to my local disk. The privacy and sharing controls are getting out of the hand.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to know your preferences and habits so there are more targeted ads. The more you share and spend time on the website the more they can learn more about you and hence more ad revenue. Your likes and dislikes give the companies a direct access to the product #analytics. The only danger with this approach is that you are always being tracked. You would never know what information could lead to what ? If you leave a public share saying that “I am off to a vacation in Hawai”. You house might be targeted by a burglar who is also on Facebook (or for that matter any #socialnetwork). However, it is important for the company and end user to understand where their personal data is going to and the side effects of such data.
#Google came up with Wave and Buzz to enter into social space but failed miserably. I never even considered to use them in anyway. Google+ was the only product from #Google that not only integrated the social elements but also cared about the privacy. It felt more of an extension to my gmail and google groups rather than a separate product. I would rather trust a single company. Yes, Google could turn out to be evil too. But I would rather live with ONE evil and not with multiple ones.
Facebook definitely lead the innovation and birth of several technologies in the space of #artificalIntelligence, #bigdata, #predictiveanalytics, #nosql, #hbase, #hadoop, #apis, #platform, #cassandra, , and many more. It is the great example of keeping the product simple, executing radically quick and getting continuous feedback from users.
Whether Facebook can sustain the competitive advantage in the long run or not. One thing is clear that the technology companies can grow faster than others with real products 🙂 This is a good news for all the people in the technology industry.
Goodluck to all the Facebook employees. This will keep rest of people like myself to be optimistic.