What Will We Be Using Facebook For In Five Years?

The Future of Facebook

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What Will We Be Using Facebook For In Five Years?
[ Social Media]

Facebook is estimated to have somewhere around 700 million users art this point. It was only 500 million when the marketing campaign for The Social Network launched last year.

How long until it reaches a billion? Leave your guess in the comments.

Facebook is seeing a great deal of growth in countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, India, Columbia, Egypt, Turkey, and the UK. Facebook has become the top place for communication, photos, games, charity, and news for a lot of people already, and we’ve not even come closer to seeing the limit of what will be done using the social network. One of the interesting things about Facebook’s growth is that the more things people are able to do with Facebook, the more it is likely to grow still. And the company hasn’t even had an IPO yet.

We’ve seen plenty of glimpses into the future of Facebook – things that are being done on a modest scale, which will likely blow up in time (e-commerce, payments, videos, travel, etc.) As Facebook’s growth continues, more businesses are going to feel comfortable using it as a platform of operation, or at least as a major component of it.


We’ve already seen e-commerce on Facebook increase over the last year or so, with more businesses setting up storefronts on Facebook itself, but I expect this to grow much more significantly over the coming years. It will be like selling merchandise through websites used to be. At first, many businesses didn’t offer their actual products through their sites, but now, most do. This will likely be the case on Facebook too, and it might not even take as long.

Most businesses have already recognized the benefits of at least having a Facebook Page, and given the ease of setting one up, compared to creating (and maintaining) a website, it’s not hard to see why wider adoption came so quickly.

We recently ran an article by Krishna De, who discussed nine tips to increase your social commerce success:

1. Have an attractive image for your store
2. Make use of your profile photo
3. Add a customized tab on your Facebook page
4. Incentivize your Facebook fans
5. Mention your Facebook Store in a status update
6. Test the Facebook Store out yourself
7. Consider using Facebook Ads to build awareness
8. Mention the launch on your site
9. Encourage people who purchase to leave a recommendation


Identity is the key to everything Facebook does, and is a major component in every business, app, and website that associates itself with Facebook. It’s all about personalization, and last year when Facebook launched its Instant Personalization features and social plugins for websites, it truly took over the web. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a credible website that doesn’t have some kind of Facebook integration, even if it’s as small as simply the use of a “like” button.

Despite privacy concerns from many users, they still continue to use Facebook, and using Facebook they can log into and interact with other sites and apps, without having to create a separate account. It ups the convenience factor significantly, and reduces friction. This will continue to be key for future endeavors, and every facet of Facebook usage, whether that be paying for goods online or off, playing games and keeping your records, getting personalized news, keeping personalized music playlists, or whatever else.

Facebook faces competition from companies like Google and Twitter (more so now with Twitter’s integration into Apple’s iOS 5) in the area of identity, but Facebook has a huge lead here, particularly in how it relates to personalization and actual friend-related data.

Of course, you still need an email address to have a Facebook account.


It is the identity aspect of Facebook that lends it to payments. With Facebook Credits, the social network has its own currency, which one can easily envision becoming a widely adopted and acceptable form of payment given the rise of innovation in the mobile payments space for the physical world, the fact that so many sites are integrated with Facebook in the online world, and the fact that every business already wants you to “like us on Facebook”.

Imagine going to McDonald’s or Sears, and tapping your phone on a device at the register to pay with your Facebook Credits.

By the way, Facebook Credits will reportedly work with iTunes apps too.


There are 107 apps currently on Facebook listed under “Travel,” and that’s just internal Facebook apps – apps you access while on Facebook itself. That doesn’t include the Facebook integration Travel sites all over the web are employing. Look at what Delta Airlines is doing, for example. Its Ticket Counter app lets users check in online and access their boarding pass on Facebook within 24 hours of their departure. It also lets you check flight status, view trip details, and view skymiles.

Travel is just one aspect of life where the ubiquitousness of Facebook comes in handy, as those catering to that aspect (like Delta) are able to take advantage of your Facebook ID to provide you with a helpful service.


Given Microsoft and Facebook’s relationship, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Facebook and Bing Travel integrations over time either.


Speaking of Bing, and its partnership with Facebook, don’t be surprised to see Facebook become a much bigger part of the search market picture. Facebook has data that search engines crave already. Personalization is the name of the game, and nothing on the web can come close to delivering the kind of personalized experience Facebook can to those that use it.

We’ve talked at length about Facebook’s potential in search in the past, so I’m not going to go on and on about it here. I’ll simply give you a link or two. But suffice it to say, Facebook is very relevant to search, and search is very relevant to Facebook. It will be even more so, as more businesses and people flock to the social network.


Businesses are already recognizing how powerful Facebook ads can be. I expect Facebook Ads to continue to grow as a more popular place for companies to advertise. The targeting based on all of the data Facebook has about users is simply too great.

Facebook Ads

Just this week, MerchantCircle put out results of a survey finding that 22% of local merchants have used Facebook ads, and two-thirds of them intend to do so again. That’s as they stand now. You have to consider that Facebook is going to continue to make new features available over time, and find ways to make ads even more attractive to advertisers. It’s highly unlikely that they think their work is done, and that they’re not going to improve.

That goes for Facebook as a whole, by the way. There’s no telling what Facebook and its pool of top engineering talent will come up with in time, that nobody’s even considered yet. Look at everything Google’s done in the last decade. Who knows what Facebook will have its hands in another ten years. By the way, much of that top talent has come from Google.


Obviously games are already an enormous part of Facebook use for a lot of people. One can’t help but wonder if it has even played a part in the cancellation of certain soap operas. Movies and music may be poised to make up an even greater part of the puzzle as well.

As you may know, Warner Bros. has already been testing Facebook movie rentals. You go to a fan page for a movie, and then, you can rent the movie from right there. It’s not at all hard to imagine this becoming commonplace in the industry.

Facebook has also been talking with various music services, according to reports. The product of these talks is rumored to be a tab/widget that would display a user’s most-played songs and provide an easy way for friends to hear them. People are already sharing music on Facebook all the time, whether that be through a YouTube video, a SoundCloud file, or other formats, and bands are already connecting with fans through their Pages.

Musicians are even charging Facebook credits for on-demand concert streams.


People are already getting a lot of their news from Facebook, and Facebook has been placing more emphasis on this side of things itself. If you’re doing all of these other things with your Facebook account, it only makes sense that you would get at least some of your news through this venue as well, by “liking” publications’ Pages, which share links and notes about stories, and through posts that Friends find worth passing on (including through Facebook’s social plugins – like the “like” button or the newer “send” button).

A couple months ago, Facebook announced the launch of new journalist resources and a series of events for journalists to come together and find new ways to better harness the social network for their craft. Of course Facebook has played a significant role in creating the news as well (see recent revolutions).

Journalists on Facebook Facebook Page


Looking at Facebook’s list of recent acquisitions can give us hints as to what the company might be up to, though as they are often geared toward talent rather than product, we can only speculate until we see results. Recent acquisitions from Facebook include:

– Drop.io (file hosting and sharing)
– Rel8tion (mobile advertising)
– Beluga (group messaging)
– Snaptu (mobile app development)
– DayTurn (infographics)
Sofa (mac apps)

What Will We be Using Facebook For in Five Years?

This is where I’d like to call upon feedback from our readers. I’m sure I’ve barely scraped the surface of what the future truly holds for this increasingly powerful company. I want to hear some ideas from you about what you think we’re in for. So, I ask you: what will people be using Facebook for five years from now, that they aren’t already using it for? What would you like to see Facebook do in the future that it doesn’t already do? What would you like to see it stop doing? Comment here.

What Will We Be Using Facebook For In Five Years?
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  • http://www.wsdbiz.co.il Aviran

    Facebook is the next Google, will control everything, especially holding all of out personal informations, when trying to deny Google doing so, Facebook pretty much has it all.

    • http://www.rent3dmovies3d.com shags38

      that pretty much puts it in a nutshell Aviran

  • http://www.dallasalexander.me Dallas Alexander

    I truly believe that Facebook has made it and there here to stay. Great job Zuckerberg and team!

  • http://www.trixi.com Gerald

    Facebook will be the biggest telecommunication network worldwide…the people will have a kind of “Skype”, calling eachother…and just calling the username of any Facebook-User…In the future the people will not have a phone number…the will have a just their username….with a lot of extra services…

    Let’s see where it ends…

    • http://www.OneArmedSEO.com OneArmedSEO

      We have a kind of Skype now…it’s called Skype!!

  • ted

    I would like to see a redo of the initial application process! As a “newbie” to this cyberstuff, I cannot even log on to !!! English, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) . :-)

    • ted

      Scratch the “to”…

  • http://accesspropertysolutions.com jay ward

    I think Facebook will die out unless it makes big changes. Its an invasion of privacy and people will get sick of it, they already are talking about it. Its being called DRAMABOOK!

    • Ryan Kempf

      I think the privacy is an issue yet I really don’t know to what extent I sometimes think it not that big of an issue just for the fact that people still use it I do think the users need to be aware more of what they are posting I don’t think its facebook‘s fault I think users of Facebook should be more responsible in what they allow posted on their respective pages

  • http://www.kokoarena.com KokoArena

    I think they would also be going offline – that is they will be part of our offline activities – .

  • http://accesspropertysolutions.com Jay

    I’m not sure it has the best data of personal information because most people I know are giving fake information. People are starting to figure out that Facebook is too personal and can be dangerous and invasion of privacy. Its becoming more like My Space and will die off the same way. ITS NOT THAT GREAT OF A SITE….

  • http://w1z111-campfirecontent.blogspot.com Charlie

    Although I do not follow Facebook’s overall strategy, I think it’s pretty clear they’re attempting to overtake the web in more than just social networking. I know they’ve made it clear they want to accommodate more search capabilities, and I know they’re always adding more “like-related” stuff, and always encouraging members to make FB their “home page”, and encouraging business-related things, and so much more. So, there’s no doubt in MY mind that they want to “own” the Internet one day.

    Can it be? The way I see it, WHOMEVER (Google, Facebook, Twitter, or perhaps some “newbie-web-w1z”?) comes up with the best (which is yet to be defined) “one-stop-spot” will be the winner(s). Users want things to work; they want things easy; they want things quick; and they want things handy…without headaches or hassles.

    Most users do not know much about code behind any of the apps or widgets or gadgets or other related stuff, so they want to be able to use whatever becomes available without need for a lot of mumbo-jumbo-jargon about compatibility, etc.

    Users also want seamless compatibility from any sources…to enable them to use some of the more innovative apps of otherwise ‘incompatible’ sources (proprietary vs. open-source?).

    Some users might even wish to create their own apps “on-the-fly”, with easy access to the necessary tools to make that kind of task simple even for the code-challenged.

    Ultimately, I think it comes down to this: Whoever can make users’ web experience one that they cannot live without will likely rule.

    • http://www.lightbulbinteractive.com Dave culbertson

      Can it be? The way I see it, WHOMEVER (Google, Facebook, Twitter, or perhaps some “newbie-web-w1z”?) comes up with the best (which is yet to be defined) “one-stop-spot” will be the winner(s). Users want things to work; they want things easy; they want things quick; and they want things handy…without headaches or hassles.

      Most users do not know much about code behind any of the apps or widgets or gadgets or other related stuff, so they want to be able to use whatever becomes available without need for a lot of mumbo-jumbo-jargon about compatibility, etc.

      What you wrote was AOL’s value proposition during its heyday.

  • http://www.catalogong.net Florin

    In 5 years Facebook will be one of the major online social sites. I agree with others that say that people realise more and more that Facebook creates a big problem with privacy, but that won’t stop people to signin or post personal stuff.

  • http://www.lightbulbinteractive.com Dave culbertson

    Facebook is basically AOL, part two on a larger scale. AOL was really about controlling content distribution and ecommerce. Companies such as Travelocity ended up paying millions of $$ to AOL to be “where the people are” before they figured out that they could use the web to by-pass the AOL platform and go directly to where the *most* people are. Many brands jumping on the Facebook wagon will eventually realize this – again – and refocus on their websites. Do brands want to drive their own cars on the information highway or be stuck in the back of someone else’s bus?

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/larrywilliams4u Larry

    My prediction is that Facebook will eventually incorporate everything under one umbrella: Skype-like communications, VOD, movie ticket purchases, e-commerce transactions, travel (plane tickets, hotel, car reservations) and probably even education “classroom-type” portals.

    Eventually they will become bigger than Google and more powerful in many ways than the government in terms of broad scope of dependence. They have so much money that they can buy a large number of dominant niche companies to incorporate their specialties in the Facebook platform.

    Ask yourself this: What would you miss more if it went away: Facebook, Google or Microsoft?

    Microsoft has little competition and isn’t going away.

    Google is right to be worried about Facebook. The key thing Facebook has going for it is that it has built a social, personal connection – all your “friends” are there, and it uses that to promote itself: “2,813 people like this, John used this, etc.” Google can’t simulate that, no matter how hard they try.

  • chris smith

    I personally think facebook will fail, the invasion of privicy is starting to concern everyone. Also, the figures of 700 million users is rubbish, 700 million accounts maybe, but i believe this will be less than half unique users. How many pets have accounts, businesses, people with 2 accounts. Its all publicity figures in my opinion. 1 in 10 people of the world dont have an account in my experience. Something will beat facebook for useability and the privacy concerns in my opinion everyone will shift to that, id personally give facebook 3 years max. They will end up the same way as yahoo, who once were huge for the internet and where are they now, really?


    • Alec

      Absolutely agree. I opened a Facebook account, paid for advertising, no replies, couldn’t see the point of it in the end, no longer use it but presumably I am one of the 700 million

      • http://www.gestaltdigital.com DG

        Really? I spent just $20 and got huge response. So far it has been the bang for the buck I’ve seen. However, you have to approach it in a friendly, “social” way, not just a typical call to action sales pitch.

        As for privacy concerns, Facebook only knows what you choose to tell. Nearly every person writing a freaked out privacy concern, it’s usually on their Facebook account. THat’s because it is the easiest way to reach people.

        The convenience trumps the (fairly silly) privacy concerns every time.

  • http://www.googlesniper-2.net Ros

    I wish people would STOP posting their almost minute by minute activities. While we may be a ‘friend’ or have ‘liked’, I find it really annoying to have a list of posts from certain people who are self-centered enough to think we all want to have these alerts. Maybe they just don’t have a life!

    • Eyffa

      I agree to ur opinion. It makes me sick and get bored with it. Once, I got a bloody picture of sb I-don’t-know-who’s private business in the toilet out of certain medical problem. I felt disgusting about it. I think that fella already made it ‘privacy’, yet one of my friend had commented on the pic, so, it appeared on my wall. Really it’s vomitous…nauseaus…argh..haunting my mind.

      Another point is on safety, if u got enemy, and they are bad…very bad, they may hack ur account and knew every of ur movement, so, u r helping more crimes in production with all the personal details u provided moreover for people who had not blocked tosome privacy levels…i.e. open for public type.

      As other elements of modernisation, it needs a generation as victims to see the effects from it…most of the time, after things gone beyond reparation. The best is still prevention is better than cure & be matured + more wiser online. Don’t let the net enslave u…na? Sounds like battling with addiction!

  • http://www.visionefx.net Rick Vidallon

    In five years we will be using Facebook much the same way we are using it now. To discover just how much all our friends have aged five years from now”. Facebook is Social. Google is Search.

    Danny Sullivan said it best. (loosely paraphrased) ‘When your water pipes bust you don’t jump on Facebook to find a plumber’.

  • Jack

    In 5 years i will use Facebook to wipe my @ss with.. it should be noted, that currently i only piss on facebook!

  • R J M

    Several things will happen – those who dump everything and anything on FB will mature and realize that there are things about their past they want to forget. It’s an essential part of human growth. FB won’t let them. Society will slowly learn that lesson.

    People (maybe) will figure out that “friend” is a special term and not the trivial meaning that Facebook has made it into.

    The breathless enthusiasm for FB will fade.

  • Naoise

    700m users is nonsense – I’ve got 14 FB accounts for different purposes. FB will float. Zuckerberg, the creepy git that he is, will make billions, and new owners will be left with a pup.

  • Beautyroom Rothley

    Have a specific advertising place or section for Local businesses – so people get to recognise this and us small businesses stand a chance against the big boys with huge amounts of cash that we don’t.

    • http://www.nwlla.org Betty Mcnerlin

      I agree – small businesses could really make the connections they need here, especially if it is free – I use it to teach smallstart ups marketing and advertising. I use it to keep in touch quickly – in fact I use it quite a lot for research and discussion right across the world – I’m 58 years old by the way and a Rotarian.

  • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

    The real question is what Facebook will be using us for in five years.

  • http://www.vrinternal.com/ Simeon

    People want connections with relatively small group of friends not with the whole world. FB is overestimated and is going to be drown with commercialization and advertisement, eventually.

  • Jeff

    I think that ever since the web was made available to everyone there has been this idea in the mind of website owners and businesses that they are operating within this arena called “The Internet”. I used to think Google was big and they are however they still operate within this boundary that is made up in our minds. I think where Google made it’s mistake for the future was in not “claiming” ownership of the Internet. It’s really just a space out there in which we all operate in. With the advances at facebook I now have a new outlook on the Internet. facebook is claiming it, sort of stealing the Internet from….. well no one, he who ends up with the most online user time wins. It was always up for grabs but nobody seemed to realize that. What Google did was said “Let’s take as much of the time people spend on the Internet as we can and become king”. What facebook is doing is saying “Let’s take the whole Internet”.

  • http://pilotjourney.com Gary

    If we are lucky as humans it will go away. It is costing employers a fortune and ruining lives.

  • http://www.theprcoach.com Jeff Domansky

    Facebook is useful but does anyone else find it: cumbersome, creatively limiting, disorganized, non-intuitive, a very poor search tool and sometimes a time waster, not to mention disrespectful of privacy? I’m just thinking… maybe trying to be everything = nothing?

    • http://www,theanaloguerevolution.com Pete

      Yes I do! not so bad for users but very clunky for setting up and running pages. Also privacy is a mess, you can never quite tell what activity is private and what is public and I don’t like the fact EVRYTHING you do is recorded. Try searchign for one of your friends, next time you search it has recorded your previous searches and puts them top

    • Mason

      Absolutely agree. I think that Facebook is overvalued at present and is making the mistake of not improving its core functionality. Also, unlike Google, its greed is apparent in everything it does.

      It just isn’t that great. Most of the business comes from people with very little computer expertise, who have no interest in anything but the core function, i.e. keeping up with a group of friends.

  • mehmet

    Facebook will lose popularity

  • joe

    I hope this fad dies out soon. Facebook is great for the elderly. I am sure the owner will do something stupid and lose the whole thing.

  • http://www.petstar12dogandcatmovers.com jane Ibbitson

    If you add all the people up that use face book it could be a country by it’s self so that makes it a very powerful tool google has had it all but now facebook has taken over there is no doubt about that just look at how many people have a facebook button on there website and tv add.and twitter is not far behind.

  • Egon

    It sucks, and it’s annoying with all the alerts, and as far as the ads, they’ll be just as expensive as Google, just give it time.

    Everybody and their uncle advertising their get rich from IM. People waste way to much time on it and Twitter’s even worse. There both a joke, my opinion anyway. So there you have it, you now have something else to Facebook or Twitter about, my comment.

  • http://www.wirelesssecuritycamera-system.com Luh Yudhi Kamaeni

    Get traffic for my website if I will be using facebook, thank

  • Remy

    It will fade away for all the same reasons already mentioned here.

    No business last forever. Facebook is a business. As they cater more to the business members the more polluted with ads the site becomes and more people trying to sell you something.

    It’s loosing its value as a personal connector. Quite disgusted by it right now. Too much noise.

  • http://www.xtremedigitals.in Mohit

    I wonder then we all will not be needing any website of any sort. This can either reduce the costs of online businesses or may ruin their business too.

  • Maggie Newman

    I’ve enjoyed Facebook.com since it has helped me find and converse with people I had as STUDENTS in school, who are now ADULTS. They have “friended” me and I’ve enjoyed learning about them and their lives. I do not know if I’ll be doing this in five years…maybe not since I am now 66….but I’ve enjoyed it for now. Social “networking” can be rather insidious and problem causing if it is not correctly used.

  • http://SoYouThinkYouCanDance dwhebborn@gmail.com

    http://goo.gl/NkyZs Whois for UN website

  • http://www.forgetthepain.com Robert Dickens

    I know I’m there to much with near zero results. No more PPC ads for me. big investment an no sales there.

  • http://growingtomatoecenter.com/ Jack

    I will be using facebook to help my business.
    tomatoe growing

  • http://www.heychef.com HVerbeck

    I recently heard an article about law enforcement and government being able to use the content on Facebook for identification purposes, using things like unique iris/eye patterns and the technology that tags you in other peoples’ photos. I wonder if we’ll hear about Facebook’s involvement with THESE groups?! or if it’s all silent/behind the scenes. Are these “fun” advancements in technology accidental progress toward something we don’t like and to which we’ll all come to realize we’ve bought into unknowingly?

  • sh

    How do you spell big brother?

  • http://www.nwlla.org Betty Mcnerlin

    I started a social media/facebook pilot with 4 unemployed people from Limavady, Northern Ireland – had a heck of a time persuading the local Jobs & benefits that this was a skill people now need at work. I can see it because we’ve been a dedicated ICT Charity for 8 years – biggest hurdle is to get people who don’t know – to actually look at what is happening in reality. I could do with some support here – right now and then maybe we can do something for the next 12 months, never mind the next 5 years.

  • http://www.gikmedia.com/ GIK

    I personally think in 5 years time the next big thing will take over. Who knows what even the internet will look like in 3 years never mind 5

  • http://www.OneArmedSEO.com OneArmedSEO

    What Will We Be Using Facebook For In Five Years? Nothing! We use it too much now…time to get a life!

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    I think Gerald is probably right and this is a fascinating aspect of Facebook. This would really connect people in a much greater way than they are now.

  • http://www.mickisuzanne.com Micki Suzanne LeCronier

    The tracking of user interests is currently annoying and unrefined but you can see they’re working on it. Not all of us are interested in games. It’s very nice that there is an option to block game invitations from friends.

    I can see Facebook replacing eBay. Artists and craftspeople are already showcasing recent accomplishments – and offering them for sale. That too is clunky right now, but I’m sure it will be finessed and expanded.

    I can see Facebook stores for members.

    FB may even tread on craigslist turf, who knows:-)

    Hooray Facebook – keep us safe, keep us connected.

  • http://www.ohh-la-la.co.uk Caroline Broquere Lartigue

    Excellent article particularly for businesses still unclear about what Facebook can do for them. That said anyone planning to use Facebook shouldn’t see it as a replacement for Twitter and vice versa – like other communications channels in the marcoms mix, it’s important to present those two social networks as complementary (i.e. when it comes to identity Facebook as a very different role to fulfill).

  • http://www.simplyuniquebabygifts.com/ Pat

    Technology is a way of life that is only going to make communication more and more easier. The younger generation is so tapped in to each other, using the various social media sites, including facebook, that collaboration on products is going to be totally different than the traditional round table board room discussions the prior generations have used to make things happen. I am very exciting about what is happening and can’t wait to see what happens next!

  • http://www.sapadventures.net/ Paola

    we’re in for. So, I ask you: what will people be using Facebook for five years from now, that they aren’t already using it for? What would you like to see Facebook do in the future that

  • Alec

    Facebook users decline in UK and USA, will there be a Facebook in five years time?


  • http://www.earning-info2u.blogspot.com Method of online income

    facebook,one of the most powerfull communication network.In near future facebook lead more then 50% world wide web network.It is a matter of great personal communication which lead by facebook.

  • http://www.epalmspringsrealestate.com Abraham

    This is a great article that gives a more realistic view of Facebook and where it could be heading in 5 years

  • http://www.3dmoviesonline.com.au Mike OShannessy

    there is no doubt that Facebook will become a search engine in its own right and be a significant threat to Google in the near future – the term will become “facebook it”. The big question is what will follow Facebook ?

  • http://www.rent3dmovies3d.com shags38

    Aside from the obvious that Facebook will incorporate a search engine and overtake Google it begs the question what will come after Facebook?

  • http://www.amigos2amor.com Amoroso

    The 7th country from left to right you wrote, COLUMBIA, the correct name of this South American country is COLOMBIA. :\

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