I’m sitting in front of a Davos panel with Chad Hurley of YouTube, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (wearing a tie under a fleece sweater), Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Hamid Akhavan of T-Mobile International, Eric Clemens of Wharton, Mike Arrington of TechCrunch and Craig Mundie of Microsoft in a session of social networking and the future of mobile. It’s a packed room with a mob outside wanting to come in.
Akhavan—3.2 billion people have mobile phones. Most widely held electronic device. 5% only are browser capable for an internet experience. In Western Europe, with net-capable phones, data traffic is rising very fast.
Zuckerberg—mobile enables more sharing. 25 million people using mobile Facebook. Blackberry, iPhone, SMS are mobile Facebook platforms.
Mundie—GPS integration into apps will evolve.
Clemens—dogs know instantly when they go into a room what’s what. Mobile gives you that power. That information.
18 year-olds have loyalty to their “posse.” Not their organizations. The nature of loyalty is changing. Young Wall Street bankers on two sides of a deal work it out on Facebook.
Narayen—mobile is very fragmented. Arrington asked the audience who had smart phones and what kind. Everyone had one—but iPhones, BlackBerries, Microsoft-based. Fragmented.
Hurley—a lot of doom and gloom here at Davos but there is a lot happening in technology. We receive 15 hours of video content every minute on our site (YouTube). Only a small percentage is copyright-violated. Even then, people are leaving their content on YouTube to monetize it.
Question: What happened to privacy?
Arrington—It is my opinion that privacy is a big factor in slowing down the adopting of social networking. Mark?
Zuckerberg—People share what I’m doing right now. It’s a stretch to share where they are right now. You were always sharing with friends, not everyone, on Facebook.
Arrington—You don’t let people share their location right now.
Zuckerberg—It’s difficult now with so many platforms to develop applications now. GPS isn’t available on some of them now. But location-based activity isn’t that much of a stretch from status-sharing. We want people to increasingly share their information.
Mundie—People need notice and choice to ensure their privacy. We focus on data—location, medical—now. We have to go beyond that. People can speculate that there are evil ways to exploit data. We need to agree and platformize (sic) ways for people to agree on accessing their data. How does the user specify their ownership rights on their data. It’s not clear on law and policy right now.
Akhavan—There’s an infinite number of permission issues for mobility. There’s no way forward to get permissions in a legal and ethical way. It’s a huge issue. Do you want family members to know when you’re within 50 miles of them when you don’t want to meet them?
Clemens—Regulation, platform and user choice are key here - some combination of them can determine privacy.
Akhavan—the world is dividing into two categories of people. People, a large group of people who are trying to protect themselves and are becoming a bit more afraid of losing privacy without giving consent. Those who don’t mind. 15-35 years old is the sweet spot for mobile users.
Clemens—We’re hiding from data, hiding from push. Hiding from information about restaurants and other things that comes at me is what I don’t like. Not just wanting privacy.
Mundie—The two worlds of people who first bought mobile phones for email applications (older) and web-based applications (younger) are approaching each other.
Zuckerberg—In a lot of other countries, in the Middle East, where they don’t have computers, use Facebook on their mobile phones. In some places, the web won’t evolve as much because people will go straight to phones.
Hurley—A small percentage of community on YouTube contribute - 2% to 3% - and upload video. The rest watch. (Wow—just like Wikipedia).
Zuckerberg--content contributed by your friends has much more impact.
Arrington--I'm getting all kinds of ads on my Facebook now.
(OK, it's getting a bit boring now. What are we learning that we didn't know before? Oops. It's better now. Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, who is sitting right next to me, is called upon from the stage to talk about using Twitter and Facebook in Myanmar to organize post-disaster reconstruction under government censorship/control.)
Mundie--the capacity to deliver streaming video is not that much now. It'll take 10 years.
Question: Will YouTube and Facebook be around in 5 years? Why?
Hurley--YouTube and Facebook empower people. We have the President on our site. The Pope. The Queen. We'll be around.
Zuckerberg--We've grown from 50 to 150 million people worldwide on Facebook.
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