Published Date: May 29, 2007

I’ve been a Facebook fan for a long time (about 6 3 years I think). In a day and age where everything is becoming “open,” their latest release at F8 is simply an unbelievablably smart business move (IMO) that will take advantage of their massive user base. The NYT wrote “facebook expands into myspace’s territory.” I agree completely and cannot wait until the MASSIVE shift of users from myspace to facebook starts to occur (which I really do think will happen – afterall, how many die-hard, passionate myspace users do you run across?). Web 2.0 is turning completely transparent and Facebook is on the cutting edge — truly on it’s way to changing the internet. How? By making “search” LESS important.

Most API’s give you access to data. Facebook’s platform gives you access to people, which makes the platform extremely appealing to companies. User acquisition costs are usually quite high for any business, but facebook is certainly looking to change that by opening up its 20+ million users. Fred Wilson pointed to two posts today regarding the pros and cons of developers building applications on top of the Facebook developer network. Check out this video from the Facebook team about why people should build on the facebook platform. Truthfully, I think the main counter argument, which is that someone else controls your users data, to developing on facebook are ludicrous. Sure, that’s traditional (read – old school) thinking, but since when has anyone given you access to 24 MILLION users (and growing everyday) that are constantly communicating with each other? How long would it take your company to sign up that many people onto your site? A helleva long time I bet. Seriously, if people think the blogosphere is conducive to word of mouth (it is), facebook is truly off the charts — meaning the fb user base is extremely valuable to just about every company.

Since facebook provides a massive distribution opportunity, companies have a strong incentive (or 24 million of them) to build applications, I’m going to assume that numerous developers will build all kinds of applications to add to the facebook platform. Afterall, it’s already started to happen —, iLike, Obama, Twitter, and Facebook Video.

Seriously, the newsfeed, which I was originally opposed to but have grown to absolutely love, is the 2nd best thing facebook has ever done (the 1st being the F8 release). If you really think about it — the importance of search is dwindling. Your friends are pushing more and more content to you without you asking. You no longer have to “search” for everything. I heard the VP of Media Sales for FB, Mike Murphy, speak at the MIT event last week. He mentioned that friends are the most trusted source of information, which is hard to disagree with. Even more so than last week, I am now thoroughly convinved FB is really gunning for “peer search results,” which could put them on a direct collision course with Google. Afterall, I would love to know what the top search results are from my immediate network of close friends. It’s the same reason all techies use RSS to read their news — it’s more appealing to get news and content from trusted sources than to search for news from unreliable sources (in the blogosphere example – the trusted sources are blogs). I find myself doing fewer and fewer traditional searches as I add interesting blogs to my RSS reader. I believe the same shift will happen internet wide. I certainly agree that facebook is well on its way to becoming an social operating system (ie the Windows of the web). The possibilities are almost endless with the support of the developer community. Look out Google — so, who is going to build the internet search module into Facebook???

And NO, Google will NOT buy facebook — and not because they can’t afford it (they could), but because it seems clear Mark Zuckerberg has his heart set on changing the way people communicate & becoming the next dominate company on the web. He can’t do that by being acquired by Google (or anyone else).