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Facebook Aims to Socialize All Online Services

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 24, 2007

Facebook, which some of you may still think is a social networking service for college students, is graduating bigtime. Today, it’s announcing that more than 65 developers from the likes of, Microsoft, Obama for America, and Warner Bros. Records are developing applications on top of its Facebook Platform. Essentially, those companies are embedding pieces of their applications—like book reviews from Amazon and photo slideshows from Slide—into Facebook itself. Facebook members, who now can include anyone with an email address, can add applications integrated with their existing Facebook services. The idea is to make Facebook even more of a utility for everything people want to do online that benefits from a social component. That’s a lot of things.

As Liz Gannes at Gigaom put it nicely, Facebook seems to be attempting to become the online social operating system. More by Dan Farber here. Pretty ambitious stuff indeed. In fact, walking into the huge concourse here in San Francisco, I suddenly wondered if I had stumbled into an Apple event. Too ambitious? Maybe, but no one else has yet taken a big shot at going beyond social networking to injecting a social component into everything people do online.

More to come later if I can get our blogging system to cooperate with the network here….

Update: CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in trademark jeans, sandals, and sweatshirt despite the sweltering room, certainly can’t be accused of being shy. “Today, together, we’re going to start a movement,” he began. He says the “social graph,” or the set of relationships among people, is “changing the way the world works.” He continues, conjuring up previous examples of platforms such as the PC operating system and the Web browser: “Every once in awhile, a new platform comes along that enables whole new types of applications. Sometimes, it even starts new industries.” Yikes. And he’s not even wearing a black turtleneck.

Ambitious words aside, he has a laudable goal: “Right now, social networks are closed platforms. We’re going to change that.”

Now Microsoft VP Dan’l Lewin comes onstage. OK, you know Facebook must have some mojo if the still-dominant platform company comes on and blesses what’s being touted as the next one. On the other hand, Mark, this is Microsoft. I’m sure you’re watching your back.

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Reader Comments


May 27, 2007 12:52 PM

I use Facebook, a lot. And I think Facebook is already overcrowded, this will only add more clutter, which might be enough for me to stop using Facebook


December 10, 2007 02:32 PM

What other online communities have a tad bit older demographic? Like 30s and 40s? I'm searching for a few that would be good for a property management company.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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