Facebook is currently holding a live announcement discussing the launch of three new Facebook integrations today, group chat, video calling (powered by Skype) and a new design for Facebook chat. During the product introduction portion, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took the stage to introduce what he referred to as "Launching Season 2011." During the opening segment, Zuckerberg took some time to discuss the vision surrounding the updates that were being announced.
Essentially, social networking, in relation to getting people to join is not the primary motivation. From Zuckerberg's perspective, the infrastructure is in place, Facebook is essentially ubiquitous with the public, and now, it's time to build desired applications on top of the established infrastructure. He indicates this position by saying:
The world generally believes social networking is everywhere. Over the next five years, the inflection is not on wiring the world, but on building cool apps...
Understanding your position in the world is an important aspect, and Zuckerberg knows exactly where Facebook stands as an Internet property. With such a proliferation of Facebook users, he understands that sharing is now the focal point. According to his opening statements, sharing doubles on a year-to-year basis. For instance, this year, sharing is done twice as much as it was last year, and it's growing on a yearly basis.
In fact, sharing is the focal point for Facebook's strategy going forward, if only because of how many people take part in it. During his comments, Zuckerberg revealed that "4 billion items are shared every day," and now, Facebook wants to leverage and/or build tools that streamline the process. Furthermore, he stated that "sharing is growing faster than user growth," and that sharing per person is growing even more. To Facebook, this is perhaps the most important metric in regards to what creations to concentrate on. From here, Zuckerberg proceeded to introduce the new products that are available now.
Concerning the three products discussed, Zuckerberg offered his thoughts. Regarding the group chat feature, it's pretty simple. According to the Facebook founder, "a lot of people asked for it," and so, here we are. Because so many Facebook members are active in various groups, adding such a feature -- which is activated by clicking a member and "adding" them to the chat -- is an obvious move. The same applies to video chat, which is powered by Skype, although, Facebook users don't have to have the software installed to enjoy it. As for the chat redesign, Facebook's developers want to make use of the widescreen resolutions so many computer users have now, and if you have such a display, a freestanding buddy list will appear, allowing users to access the chat functions that much easier.
These additions are about what people expected as the rumor mill churned, waiting for the announcement to become official. As for future applications, Zuckerberg revealed Facebook would rather rely on independent entrepreneurs who focus solely on app development to create upcoming Facebook apps. The reason for this has to do with focus. Facebook would rather focus on building a solid infrastructure that allows developers to build additional applications. Zuckerberg believes people who focus solely on application development would do a better job than large companies who have a great deal on their plates.
Was that a subtle slam of Apple and/or Google?
From there, Zuckerberg turned the proceedings over to his developers, who discussed the functionality of the new features. Essentially, the goal is this: Facebook has a lot of people who share and communicate via the Facebook platform and therefore, the new features will try to improve how users do things. Outside of that, independent developers will be looked at to increase the functionality beyond Facebook's current strategy.