Your Move, Google
In a move that was no doubt in response to Google’s unveiling of Google+ the previous week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a product announcement at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California today to unveil a wealth of new features to the site, mainly toward the social network’s chat functionality. Beaten to the punch by Google the week prior with the company’s introduction of Hangouts, a video-based chat function, Facebook, in a partnership with Skype, has unveiled a Video Chat function that will be built right into the existing chat application on the social network’s site. In addition, Facebook has introduced a redesign of the existing chat feature to go along with its rollout of Group Chatting, operating much in the same vein as Blackberry Messenger or Apple’s soon to be released iMessage, albeit Facebook’s does not have a mobile component.
Facebook See, Facebook Do
In the wake of yesterday’s product announcement, many across the internet began crying foul that Facebook was simply lifting features that are present in Google+, despite Facebook having a relationship with Skype for what Mark Zuckerberg claims to be, “months”. And while it’s hard to ignore the similarities, the addition of these features have been a long time coming and were the only natural progression in Facebook’s vast portfolio. By introducing Video Chatting, Facebook has subsequently eliminated the need for users who don’t already have an account with a video chatting account to register for one and have tremendously increased the value of sharing on the web, something that stands as a mission for the company, which is also where Mark Zuckerberg claims that the future of his social network, and many others like it lie.
Solidifying the Vision of a Facebook Future
One of the more interesting caveats Mark Zuckerberg had to share was the exponential rate at which people are sharing on the web as the years go by (he claims that the amount will continue to double exponentially for every year for the foreseeable future). With that, some of which are dubbing “Zuckerberg’s Law”, plays into what the CEO sees as what lies ahead for social networks over the next five years: building online applications, ala Video Chat, upon the existing social infrastructures that were built in the previous five years. Suffice it to say, this idea is compelling. In having an existing core of users on its platform, Facebook is poised to open a variety of avenues to existing internet technologies, as well as those yet to be created, and offer an outlet through which their software and product can be utilized, as opposed to being swept away and forgotten. Here’s looking at you, MySpace.