60 minutes devoted a large amount of time to Facebook last night. This is a re-do of an interview from 3 years ago that was, well, err, not so great. It's nice to Zuckerberg more comfortable in front of the camera. I'm not overly critical, those interviews are hard for anyone... But imagine being a computer-geek who get's thrust in front of a national audience.
Big news in social media
The big news in the social media world has been the introduction of email into Facebook. This feature has been talked about for a while now and is not exactly new. What was new in the interview last night was the discussion of the profile page for the social media giant. And make no mistake, Facebook is a serious player. We've all been writing about their every move for a while now. See my earlier post on the LIKE buttons that you now see all over the Internet.
Facebook has over 500,000,000 users
That makes it formidable by any measure. We've been watching it for years. Our customers are increasingly interested in advertising in Facebook. Chad and I actually tried our hand at a Facebook application in a side venture. Here at Semify, we've rolled out social media tracking products this year that include monitoring of Facebook. But is Facebook really taking over the Internet? I'm not so sure.
60 minutes really tried to play up the overlap between Google and Facebook
I'm not so sure. Facebook has a very simple mission: Social. Zuckerberg says that "everything you do is more fun with your friend." But I don't necessarily agree. There are many parts of your business persona that you really don't want to be merged with your non-business relationships. Perhaps this sentiment dates me a bit. But as I think about it, I really don't want my business email in Facebook. In other words:
I don't see Facebook email as a serious threat to Gmail
But I also know that many ads are clicked by people doing non-business things. So while I don't think that Facebook email spells "the death of email", I do see why they are doing it. The more they can keep you in their environment, the more money they can make from ads. This is more of an operating system play. In that respect they are much like Google. But does this mean there is no room for both? I think not. Most major industries have several major players... Burger King / McDonalds / Wendy's. GM / Ford / Chrysler. So are we seeing the new Internet giant landscape: Google / Facebook / Apple / Microsoft? The natural question is: Can we sustain 4 giants or is one going to fade?