Updated July 6, 2011Doc Sheldon
Mark Zuckerberg made his big announcement today, about Facebook’s new video chat feature.
That’s all, folks. Show’s over! Nothing to see here.
All in all, I think most folks were thoroughly underwhelmed. Frankly, I found the first part of his presentation more interesting, where he explained some of the thought process that goes into an analysis, to decide where R&D efforts should be focused. That was nothing new either, but at least it didn’t make me sleepy.
Partnering with Skype doesn’t rock anyone’s world, I don’t think, and frankly, even if FB had developed their own video chat platform, they’d still be several years behind the curve.
Facebook has grown its membership base, it’s true. Mark even spoke wishfully of perhaps reaching a billion users some day. But let’s face it, their user base grew for a few very basic reasons:
- No 140 character limit on posts;
- A more controlled atmosphere than MySpace provided;
- An amplified ability to share images and videos via embedding;
- A lot of apps for folks like the would-be farmers that prefer virtual dirt.
Certainly, Facebook has other features that make it attractive to one group or another, but the foregoing seem to me to be the principle reasons for their expansion.
We could also go into some of their negative aspects, too, such as
repetitive habitual disregard for personal security, a totally dysfunctional search capability (search dysfunction?) and a number of heavy-handed policies that seem to strike hardest at power-users.
To be fair, Mark spoke at some length today about having recognized the need to create a more functional search capability.
But come on, Mark! Is Video Chat really the best your team could come up with? Is that “cutting-edge” stuff by Facebook standards? I would have expected something a little more effective after a six-month R&D effort. Flying cars, maybe (they needn’t fly themselves… the folks at Google can handle that part for you).
I’ve been spending a LOT of my time at Google+ since the beta started, and honestly didn’t see it as an immediate thread to Facebook’s continued prosperity. Long term, perhaps, but not likely to precipitate a mass migration from FB to G+.
But I apparently underestimated your ability to shoot yourself in the foot, big guy.