By: Hillel Fuld
I wasn’t always such as a geek. In fact, my true geekiness started at a pretty advanced age. I still remember going to camp as a teenager and everyone giving each other their email addresses on the last day. I did not have an email address yet. Same goes for IM. My friends can testify that when people had been using IM for years, I was just beginning to be fascinated by the concept that I can send someone a message across the world in a matter of a split second.
The reason I am telling you this is because I remember when I first started using Foursquare, the location service that lets you check into venues and tell your friends where you are in real time. Others had already been using it for months before I started. I was very disappointed at first. I remember thinking that if this is the cool thing to do, to “check in”, then Foursquare should do it for me. The fact that I had to manually open the app and click Check In every time seemed primitive to me. I wanted the process to be automated.
Now, I did not know too much about how location technology worked, nor did I care if this automation was possible, but that just seemed to be the logical way for such a service to work. Now, a few years later, I understand more about Foursquare and use it daily.
Zuckerberg got on stage yesterday at the f8 conference and announced some major new changes to the way Facebook is going to look and act in the coming years. The new Facebook profile will now show up as a timeline or as he put it “a story of your life”. Sounds pretty creepy, right? Yea, well, it is awesome. If you would have asked me yesterday if I would say anything that Facebook does is awesome, I would have said no, but the timeline is beautiful, practical, and pleasant on the eyes.
While the Timeline is what it is, the major shift that Zuckerberg announced yesterday was Open Graph. To make things simple, and because I myself am not a developer so I am sure I don’t understand all the techie mumbo jumbo, I will say that from here on out, everything you do throughout the day will appear in your Facebook stream. Yes, this is serious stuff.
Facebook launched this new platform with many partners. Partners in the music industry, partners in the food industry, and partners in the movie industry. Now when you listen to music on your phone for example. which is something we all do, the app you are using to consume that content will automatically share your activity with your Facebook friends.
No more need to check in or click Share, it is all going to be automated. The new Facebook has a news ticker on the side and from now on, you will see updates appear in real time about what music your friends are listening to, what apps they are installing, what food they are eating, what TV shows they are watching, and the list goes on and on. And on…
Facebook just announced this new platform yesterday and now developers will be integrating their apps with Facebook. I see this huge announcement killing many startups that focused on the discovery of new content, whether that is apps, music, movies, books, pictures, news, blog posts, or pretty much anything else you do on the Web. Facebook will now rule them all.
While this might seem scary to you and me, the truth is, there is no need to panic. If you don’t install the app, your activity won’t be shared. Of course, for people like me, telling me to not install Foursquare or Foodspotting is like telling me not take oxygen into my lungs, so that is going to be a problem.
At the end of the day, this was a clear next step for Zuck and the gang and while it brings the term online stalking to a whole new level, assuming it is implemented well, it is going to give me and many people a lot of new reasons to spend time on Facebook.
As many have pointed out, Google+ is trying hard to compete with Facebook. The problem is, it it competing with yesterday’s Facebook. Today’s Facebook, with the timeline and Open Graph just blew Google+ out of the water. This discussion is over, sorry Google. Well, I don’t know about over, but let’s just say the ball is in Google’s court now.
Good play, Zuckerberg, your work here is done, you now rule the worldwide web as we know it.