Thursday, April 22, 2010

Facebook Makes Huge Changes - Nobody Notices

Yesterday, the tech press was all over Facebook's f8 conference.

At this stage, there are probably 10 or 20,000 articles out there on the sweeping changes that were announced, along with videos, and more.

It was, in fact, the day that the 'talent grab' that Facebook got from buying Friendfeed took center stage.

It was also a day where Facebook essentially announced that not only did they want you to access all of your information through them, but they wanted you to bring back whatever you find on the web.  Hmmm.

Facebook challenged Google (and Twitter) with some of the announcements, which I'm not going to repeat here but will link below to a few good rundowns.

The obvious conclusion is that Facebook is trying to do what Microsoft and Google have done before them.  One way or another, despite the reports that the privately held company is now profitable, they want to get their hands into the wallets of every single person on the planet (or almost).

That's the bottom line.  Period.

I'm not saying it's wrong.  It's business and there are very few other companies that have done it.  Once you do, you're 'home' ... for a long, long time.

So this morning I chatted with a few friends that regularly use Facebook.  I even spent more than 15 minutes there myself :).

No surprise.  The 'average' Facebook user had NO CLUE that there was even a conference much less wholesale changes to the service, even though an occasional banner could be seen last night and this morning at the top of various pages.

Nobody clicked.

I've said it before.  There's a blind trust in the Internet (that sometimes is just amazing!) and 'major brands'.

Most people don't have the time, or could care less, about reading 'Terms of Service'.

As a techie as heart, I usually get the bulk of my information from people (online, on the phone, by e-mail, or in my Google Reader feeds).  Most people don't.

It's THOSE people that tech companies want.  Factually, their lives could be changed by some of this stuff.

Google has come under 'privacy' fire as of late.  That's totally expected for a company that has over 70% of the search market and that is consistently delivering earnings. Google isn't the 'privacy issue'. The entire Internet is, and MUCH more likely a disgruntled IT worker who has your credit card ..... and probably your Social Security number too.

The reality is that almost any website you visit is collecting some kind of information on you, anonymous or not, and for the most part, it's always been that way.

The 'delete' button is dead. You're being archived somewhere.

I was gratified this morning to see easily understandable posts hitting the mainstream media, like this one by Sarah Perez writing for ReadRightWeb in the NY Times.  If you care about privacy, start reading some of these.  There are simply some things that everyone should do.

Rackspace evangelist Robert Scoble delivered on of his best blog posts in a long time (with links to a lot of other articles and videos from the conference .... as well as an interesting debate beginning in the comments ... here.

Fun, yet disturbing, was how Mark Zuckerberg out right refused (or seemed confused?) by questions posed by veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher at Dow Jones' AllThingsD .... one of the very few tech websites that not only includes (more than you want to know) disclosures .... but even mentions of tracking cookies.  What??  Shhhh!!!

Kara quizzed Zuckerberg on Facebook's new integration of Microsoft's and Google Buzz, and the effect the Facebook changes 'might' have on Google.  He passed.  (According to Swisher, Zuckerberg thinks she writes 'mean' posts).

The reality is that Facebook made changes that those outside the tech world may never realize.  Some were good.  Some kinda 'scary'.

Regardless, they're going to make a lot of money.  It's a given with their existing base.

And, like it or not, the so-called talent grabs of Sheryl Sandberg (Great piece in Vogue) and/or Bret Taylor (and the entire ex-Google startup team at Friendfeed), are coming to fruition.

Contrary to some of what you may read .... they won't own the Internet and Google will be just fine.  Twitter needs to take a huge step out of the box ... as does FourSquare.

The most interesting two years in Internet history continues.  Make no mistake about it.  It effects everyone.

Online or not.