Almost certainly many of you remember the times in the late ’90s when we used to buy computer magazines – yes, we used to do that back then – and it was a certainty to find one thing in them: yet another AOL CD that would give you 600 hours (or something like that) of “free web surfing”. Many people back then thought the internet was exactly what they saw on AOL.
Fast forward to 2011. AOL has totally changed and is now – for the most part – a content factory. But we got us a nice replacement that is now doing what AOL used to do, minus the CDs of course. That place nowadays is Facebook. You share your personal information, your photos, your videos, your location and much more within this closed world.
How long until people once again start believing that the internet is that blue Facebook frame? That blue frame where every once in a while something gets removed or added, which in turn creates an outcry by people that can’t deal with change. Or they opt you in by default, to a feature that you don’t want or – quite possibly – maybe just think you don’t want. Remember that uproar about the new News Feed and those groups that were against it? I didn’t think so.
In Mid-June MG Siegler of TechCrunch broke the news that Facebook with the help of some selected third parties are working on a mobile platform called “Project Spartan” based on HTML5 that would give users access to not only the basic Facebook features, but also apps and more – like Facebook’s own monetary system. In other words: yet another app store, just what we needed.
Then, last week we then witnessed Google’s launch of a whole slew of new social tools build around Google+. The features now available – including Circles, Hangout, Huddle and Sparks – mark only the beginning of more than 100 new launches to come in the next few months, which are all part of “Rolling Thunder”.
With the impressive and rather under-hyped launch – compared to Buzz or Wave, which had their own events – Google seems to have finally started looking for the ball that Facebook left them. But obviously they aren’t just sitting around while Google is sniffing around in their turf and invited the press to an event on July 6th. According to TechCrunch Facebook will launch an implementation of Facebook Chat with Skype. Quite possibly a feature that is best compared to Google Hangout:
It looks like “Social Networking” is getting more interesting again and Facebook might finally be facing a real competitor. We still have to wait and see how Google+ will evolve, because Google’s track record when it comes to social certainly isn’t the best. Wave, Buzz, ahem?!
We’ve seen it all before. MySpace wasn’t the be all, end all – and certainly neither Facebook or Google+ are or will be. It’s always just a matter of time until something better comes around.
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