While being bothered about someone’s mafia farm chicken may be a bit bothersome, it’s also indicative of a much bigger and more important change that facebook is currently undergoing, and underpins a larger trend in web based technology as a whole.
Given we’ve heard a lot about cloud computing services such as MobileMe, Amazon’s EC2, and Microsoft’s Azure Platform which will be a pivotal part of the next MS Office release, but these services are all trivial in comparison to what’s happening on facebook.
What is this? Effectively facebook games, as well as other applications are creating a market for a new type of web based operating system, and software delivery medium. This being facebook.
Simply speaking, a device will only to connect to the net in order to utilize those facebook applications that the user wants, and no actual data will need to be installed on the user owned device itself.
Clearly we are now seeing the infancy of this system as facebook applications in all are very simplistic in design and functionality, but their success has proven that there is not only a market but also a large one for value added services via facebook.
A similar trend is Google Apps & Marketplace. Google currently sells online business service competing with the likes of MS Exhange and IBM Lotus notes, it’s developer marketplace is likewise targeted at the business community and allows for independent developers to distribute add-ons for its suite of online business products.
Whether facebook will see the development of business type applications or keep to the current entertainment type applications that we’re seeing is still up in the air, though I would wager that – online collaboration tools will undoubtedly appear on facebook within the next 2-5 years.
Aside from allowing for new revenue streams for developers, facebook has a brilliant opportunity to capitalize on its platform by employing the Apple iTunes store model. Meaning that the new project management software running on facebook could cost the end user $50 per annual license, and facebook would then receive a % of sales. Plain as day, the platform is clearly scalable and the array of applications that it can offer the end user can be immense.
Then why doesn’t it do it? Why is facebook focusing on revenue generation through adverts that next to no one clicks on? For that you’ll have to ask the kid from Ardsley, but the strengthened focus on facebook’s developer community clearly shows a change in strategy for the social networking giant. Everyone sees that there is a huge market opportunity there, the question is – what will traditional players such as Microsoft, Apple, and the like do about it? And what about Google? Clearly both FB and Google are headed in the same direction, Google focusing more on business and facebook on entertainment, but will their paths cross? Will this be the next great showdown? Only time will tell.
What do you think?