Archive for the 'Facebook' Category
Call it the unicorn problem: beautiful, alluring, magical, and totally non-existent. Social commerce, according to the latest Monetate e-commerce report, is almost as elusive.
In fact, social media referrals represents just 1.55 percent of all traffic to major e-commerce destinations. And when that tiny trickle of traffic arrived, only .71 percent of it actually resulted in any kind of sale. Email marketing, by contrast, generates twice as much traffic as social media, and has four times the conversion rate to sales.
Those are not good numbers for social.
The darling of the omnipresent social media gurus on Twitter, social commerce was supposed to totally disrupt e-commerce. And, because people trust other people’s recommendations and spend a lot of time on Facebook where they meet other people and read what they say, social commerce was supposed to be huge, turning social media influence and shares into sales and revenue.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem:
“The challenge for social media — and for its big brother, word of mouth marketing — is that they are inherently additive pieces of the conversion funnel, rather than causative,” Monetate’s new report states.
But Monetate says that the problem isn’t in the social. It’s in how companies are using it.
Loyalty isn’t about clicking on an offer, report author Mitch Joel says, it’s about building a relationship. And a relationship goes far beyond “do you want to buy this.” Which means that social is not short term, social is not transactional, and social is not the same as direct response.
In other words: shocker, social media is, well, social.
Taken in that context, social can still be very valuable for brands, as marketing firm Syncapse found just a few weeks ago, valuing some Facebook fans at over $1,600. But it’s the relationship that’s valuable, not the episodic communications per se.
And that relationship can be very valuable. When an actual sale is made from a social referral, it’s often valuable, with the average Pinterest-referred sale clocking in at over $80, and the average Facebook and Twitter sales at about $70.
Filed under: Business, Enterprise, Social
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Perhaps this is why: It’s so riveting, Facebook employees can’t pay attention to anything but what their friends are doing. Even when their CEO is giving them a pep talk.
The video appears to be popular — less than an hour after posting, it has 14,000 likes and almost 5,000 shares.
Perhaps the best comment, however, is the first one, by Brian Walter, which itself has 761 likes already:
i watched this dumb video and still don’t even know what facebook home is????
It’s a viral video, Brian. It doesn’t have to make sense.
Filed under: Business, OffBeat, Social, VentureBeat
This week on the TechCrunch Gadgets Podcast we talk about the launch of Facebook Fone and my own horrible attempts at becoming a bitcoin billionaire.
We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3pm Eastern and noon Pacific.
Intro Music by Rick Barr.
Just 3% of small business ad spend goes online right now, but that’s going to change, and Facebook wants to become these merchants’ channel of choice. There’s already 2 billion connections between people and small businesses on Facebook, and their Pages get 645 million views and 13 million comments a week, Facebook announced today. The challenge for Facebook is now educating mom & pops, and simplifying its ad tools.
Facebook is entering the next phase of its small business education program that it launched in 2011 with the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This Saturday, Facebook’s Director Of Small Businesses Dan Levy will hit the street in the small town of Dixon, Illinois to raise awareness and spread understanding of Facebook’s marketing tools.
Currently Facebook’s ad businesses is predominantly supported by big businesses, who a recent BCG study said spend 16% of their budgets online. But that’s largely because enormous companies can afford to have dedicated online marketing teams who can learn the ins and outs of complicated tools.
But two shifts could change the balance. First, Facebook is aggressively pushing new ad tool developments that offer one-click targeting and auto-optimized A/B tests. Second, tech literacy is on the rise amongst small merchants. 15 million small businesses now have Facebook Pages, 8 million businesses use Facebook’s Page Manager app, 300,000 Pages have paid for Promoted Posts, and 2.5 million Posts have been promoted since the product launched in June.
Facebook hopes these trends can meet in middle and bring enough little budgets to the social network to make a huge impact on its bottom line.
“This is not a Facebook Phone.” Yeah, whatever. The HTC First is the first phone that has Facebook partnering up with an OEM to bake an Android pie with Facebook Home filling, so I’m calling it the Facebook Phone. There will be more. This is just the first. And guess what?
It’s really good.
Sitting through the Facebook Home announcement last week, before I got a chance to play with a device, I thought it was a smart maneuver by Facebook to use Android’s openness to their advantage — to put their own social layer on top of the OS. It’s not forking Android, more like spooning with it.
But given that this was their first stab at the product, and given some of the woes many of the OEMs have had doing Android skins, I honestly wasn’t expecting too much. Maybe down the road, after a few iterations. But not now.
But again, it’s really good.
Regular readers will know my predilection for the iPhone. I think it’s not only the best smartphone ever made, but the best device ever made, period (though the iPad is close). The iPhone started out fantastic and has just gotten better over time with each iteration.
Android, on the other hand, started out as sort of a nightmare. The G1 was like a weird Sidekick/iPhone hybrid with a half-baked OS. In the subsequent years, Google has come a lot farther than Apple has, only because they started so low. The most recent “pure” Android device, the Nexus 4, is excellent. The hardware is solid, the OS is better. It’s still not quite iPhone-good yet, in my mind. But it brings the two sides closer than they’ve ever been.
So where does the Facebook Phone fit in?
It’s a complicated question to answer because it really depends on what type of user you are and what you’re looking for out of a smartphone. So again, I’ll just give my take as an addicted iPhone user. I like the HTC First with Facebook Home (the official name, I think) more than the Nexus 4, but less than the iPhone 5.
From a pure hardware perspective, there’s no question that both the Nexus 4 and the iPhone 5 run laps around the HTC First. (I assume you can sub the Galaxy SIII, SIV, and HTC One in here as well, though I don’t have much experience with those devices.) As you can tell from the spec page, the First isn’t as fast as any of those devices. Nor is the camera as good. Nor is the storage as plentiful. Etc.
Using the First, you’ll notice some lag within apps and the core OS itself that you don’t experience on the iPhone 5 or the Nexus 4. But I’ve been very impressed with how well Facebook has gotten their own Home animations to work on this hardware (more on that below).
In terms of build quality, I actually quite like the HTC First. In my hand, it reminds me of the Nexus One, which was for a long time my favorite piece of Android hardware (only recently passed by the Nexus 4). Compared to the other, larger-screen Android devices that are popular these days, it feels small, but not too small.
The screen is actually slightly larger (4.3-inches versus 4-inches) than the screen on the iPhone 5. And the pixel density is a bit higher (341 PPI versus 326 PPI). It’s a great screen. And because it’s only slightly wider than the iPhone 5 screen, I’m enjoying using it in one hand more than I do with the wider Nexus 4.
I’ve found the battery of the HTC First to be excellent. Yes, even with the screen constantly displaying and rotating big images and with AT&T LTE constantly on.
But let’s be honest, no one is buying this device because of the hardware. That it’s perfectly nice and adequate is just a cherry on top.
The key to the HTC First, of course, is Facebook Home. While Facebook is purposefully downplaying it — “It’s not an OS.” — to regular users, this will absolutely feel like a new OS from the moment you turn it on.
When you turn the device on, you log in with both your Facebook and Google credentials. Once that’s done, every time you turn on the First, you’ll see a collection of big, beautiful images constantly rotating on the screen. These are all pulled from your Facebook friends. If they’ve posted pictures to Facebook, those will show up here. Or if they’ve simply left a status message, that will show up with their profile cover photo behind it. This all looks really, really good.
And it’s surprisingly addictive. Because you can swipe to scroll through these images/statuses all without unlocking the phone, I’ve found myself doing this each day that I’ve been testing the phone more than I care to admit. The fact that you can double-tap to “like” any of these (an action taken right out of the Instagram playbook) is even more addicting.
Let me be clear, I’m not what I would consider a heavy Facebook user — or even a moderately heavy one. I browse the service from time-to-time and post things there every once in a while. I think Facebook Home has me using it more than I ever have in my life. Maybe it’s the novelty of it over these first few days. But I think Facebook has really nailed the interaction element on the home screen. I actually wish I could use Instagram and other visual feeds this way as well (of course, Instagram pictures shared to Facebook are a part of this main screen experience).
You can also comment on any photo/status right from this home screen (technically called “Cover Feed”).
The other element you’ll notice here is a big circular picture of your face (or whatever your Facebook profile picture is) at the bottom of this Cover Feed. When you tap it, it brings up three options: move your face up to get to your apps, move it left to get to Facebook Messenger, move it right to return to whatever you were doing last before you re-entered Cover Feed.
If you move your face up, to apps, this is where you’ll finally see something that looks like Android. But it’s not entirely like Android. It’s a page filled with Android apps, but along the top are the standard “Status”, “Photo”, and “Check In” buttons that will be familiar to any Facebook user. This is normally where the Google Search bar goes on Android devices. Instead, that’s somewhat buried in a screen to the left.
On this main screen is where Facebook Home instructs you to put your favorite Android apps. Included are what you’d expect: Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, alongside the Google standards like Chrome, Maps, and the Google app itself (better known to some as the home of Google Now). Also here you’ll find the Camera, Gallery, Settings, Play Store, Phone, and a couple other stock Android OS apps.
You can create more of the app collection pages to the right of the main page. And to the left (where the Google Search bar is), you’ll find a scrolling list of all your apps.
So yes, some of this feels like Android. But again, it also feels different. And I really like that.
To me, one problem I’ve always had with Android is that at its fundamental level, it draws directly from the look of iOS. It’s rows of app icons. Yes, widgets and a few other things have since been added, but I’m always still looking at the screen and thinking of Android as a slightly less responsive and polished iOS.
Facebook Home is different thanks to the Cover Feed, which lays on top of the app screen. And on top of that are the beautiful, elegant notifications that Facebook has created. Simply put: I like them more than both Android and iOS notifications. They feature big, clear app icons (or a person’s face if it’s a Facebook notification) and a snippet of the message you’re receiving.
These notifications stack in reverse chronological order, as you’d expect. You can swipe them away. Or you can hold one down to collapse them all on top of one another to swipe them all away.
If you tap on one, it flips over and asks if you want to open that app. One more tap does that. This is where things start to get a little weird.
If you have a password enabled to protect your phone, you’ll be prompted to enter it before you can enter the app. But what’s odd is that if you simply swipe up to get to your list of apps, you don’t have to enter your password until you click on one in particular. In other words, sometimes you’ll be asked to enter your password from the app list, sometimes before it. I get it: Facebook doesn’t want you to be able to use an app before you enter this password, but it’s weird to prompt for it at different levels.
Even weirder is that you can actually do a few types of Facebook actions — both liking and commenting — without entering any password. In fact, there’s no way to password protect these actions, as far as I can tell. Facebook says that you’ll need to enter your password before leaving a status message or posting a photo yourself, but someone could definitely take your phone and leave comments galore on your friends pictures, no questions asked.
This is a direct result of Facebook Home laying on top of Android. The security here is still on the Android layer beneath the Home surface. I suspect Facebook will add the option to put some security on their Home layer as well.
Another awkward thing about this Home-to-Android handoff is that if the phone is unlocked, you can hold down the middle home “button” (it’s not actually a button, it’s a haptic area below the screen, standard on most Android devices) to bring up the Google App (which includes both a big Search bar and Google Now, if you have it enabled). But if the phone is locked, holding this down does nothing. It doesn’t even prompt you to enter your password.
The same is true with double-tapping this button. If the phone is unlocked, this brings up a list of your most recently used apps. If the phone is locked, this does nothing.
A few times I found myself in no-man’s land because of this handoff as well. I would try to run something from a notification and for whatever reason, the unlock screen just wouldn’t come up. So I had to go back to the Cover Feed area. Not a huge deal, but again, awkward.
I also found it awkward that the HTC First haptic buttons don’t function in the same way that they do on other Android devices that I’ve used. For example, the far right button usually brings up a list of running apps. Here, again, you do that by double-tapping the center button. The far right button is instead a settings button on this device.
Back to the good stuff: Chat Heads. Awful name not withstanding, this is absolutely how messaging should be done on a smartphone. Rather than making you open a separate app to get and respond to messages, Chat Heads put a user’s face (in the shape of a small, circular icon, just like your face on Cover Feed) on top of whatever you’re doing on your phone. Browsing the web on Chrome? Up pops a face with a snippet of the message. Click on the face to open an overlaid chat session. Click on the face again to minimize it to the circular icon (which can remain “alive” clinging to any corner of the screen). Brilliant.
This even works with multiple conversations at once. And, of course, group conversations. I suspect we’ll see a lot of other players in the mobile space copy all or some of this implementation. Again, this is how chat on a smartphone should be done.
What really pushes Facebook Home into the good product category for me though is the little touches. Elements like Cover Feed not only look gorgeous, they’re highly responsive and even a bit playful. For example, when you move your face icon around the screen, the action items (“Apps”, “Messenger”, “Back”) will be drawn towards your face depending on which direction you’re moving. It’s a bit like a black hole getting close enough to a star to swallow it. In other words, it gives you the illusion of gravity.
Likewise, double-tapping to “like” something within Cover Feed brings up a nice big “thumbs up” overlay. And this is accompanied by a water droplet sound. Simple, but again, playful. The same is true of all the system “clicks”.
These touches, while seemingly trivial, give me the same type of feeling I get when using iOS. You can tell that a lot of time and care has been put into the user experience here and it shows, in spades.
And again, you cannot overstate how smooth everything feels. In my experience, even with the Nexus 4, this has not always been the case with Android. What’s odd is that this isn’t even technically the latest version of Android. This is 4.1, not 4.2. (I’m told that Facebook will move fast to ensure that Home is compatible with the latest Android releases after they come out.)
The Android apps themselves can still feel a bit sluggish or jittery at times — again, this isn’t the fastest hardware out there. But all of the Facebook layer performs wonderfully. (And, to be clear, I had no problem getting every Android app I downloaded to run.)
So, will I replace the iPhone with the Facebook Phone? No. But again, I’m just not a heavy Facebook user. I’m impressed that this phone got me more into the service, but not impressed enough to give up the iOS universe.
I’m also not the target market of this phone. And if you’re reading this, I doubt you are either.
Still, it’s hard to believe this is only Facebook’s first take at Home. This is a very polished and impressive first entry into the space. I’ll be curious to see Facebook Home running on other hardware like the Galaxy SIV, but I think the fact that you won’t be able to get third-party notifications would be a deal-breaker for me.
I think the success of this first Facebook Phone will ultimately come down to how much marketing muscle Facebook, AT&T, and HTC put behind it. The first commercial is already out there in heavy rotation. And I suspect those AT&T stores will be erecting some big Facebook Phone tents any day now. This is a good product, so marketing will help drive sales. They just need to get it in customers hands, trying it out.
Facebook has said they plan to update Home at an aggressive pace. That’s great news. It’s nice to have another innovator in the space, even if they aren’t building their own phones or OSes. That’s a technicality. To most people, this will sure feel like a Facebook Phone. And for now, the Facebook Phone. And given the quality of the work here, I see this all as nothing but a good thing.
Though many seem excited to see Facebook take baby steps toward a full-fledged operating system, some are also concerned that using Facebook as a portal to your smartphone could become risky given all the information Facebook already collects on us.
Om Malik expressed serious concerns over Facebook knowing your location at any given time, namely because they’d eventually be able to pin-point the location of your home, place of business, etc. Activist Parker Higgins seemed concerned about the fact that Facebook would be reading text messages as well as Facebook messages.
Combining the two, along with when and how often we launch other apps, could give Facebook an even more powerful position in the app ecosystem and as an advertising platform.
If you find yourself expressing concerns over Facebook’s invasion of Android, here’s the important things you need to know:
- Facebook Home is like an app. You can install it and delete it as you choose.
- If you install it, Home collects information on all Facebook activity (like usual), plus location, Facebook messages, and that you’ve launched certain apps. This information is identifiable for 90 days before it is detached from your identity.
- Incoming SMS are automatically pulled through the Facebook Home interface, but it sounds like Facebook isn’t pushing the content of those messages back to the mothership.
- If Home comes pre-installed (for the HTC First and beyond), Facebook has access to all of the above, plus third-party notifications.
- Facebook Home can not see your activity within other, non-Facebook apps, like Google Maps
With regards to location, things get a bit tricky. As with any other app, you have complete control over location permission within Facebook Home settings, so you have every opportunity to turn off location data entirely. If you choose to leave location on, here’s what you’re working with.
From the new statement on privacy:
Facebook Home doesn’t use location in any way that’s different from the Facebook app you already have on your Android phone. You can learn about how location works across Facebook in our Data Use Policy and Help Center.
That essentially means that, anytime you use Facebook (upload a picture, check in, post a status update, send a message) Facebook will be able to pin-point where that took place. However, a Facebook spokesperson explained to CNN that Facebook will not actively be tracking the smartphone’s GPS location.
In other words, they aren’t pulling location data from us in any new ways, but they are putting Facebook in front of us a lot more, and will likely be able to gather more data in the exact same manner.
Whether this sounds shocking to you or not, it’s the trajectory we’re headed down. Zoom out for a moment: how many companies function on an ad-based revenue? Lots. This works because advertising is necessary, albeit annoying at some times. Without it, how would you know when Arrested Development is returning or that Valentine’s Day is full of hot deals.
If companies like Facebook can actually gather enough data to make ads meaningful and relevant, maybe we don’t have to hate those ads as much as we think we do.
Obviously, that’s a story for another day, considering Zuck merely foreshadowed advertising within Home, never giving an actual timeline.
Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Facebook feels it needs to educate users on this. The idea of Home is new — UI skins have been done on Android forever, but not by our single-most important online social tool. And it’s not like Facebook has never been used in the same sentence as “privacy issues,” whether you see that as innovative or terrifying.
Facebook has always pushed for more data, and been pushed back by its users. It’s a tale as old as Facebook itself.
But the social network has gone from being the web site we spend the most time on, to being the site we spend the most time on plus a little blue blip on our phones. Constant access.
Then, Facebook teamed up with Apple and built itself right into the OS. Oh, and some more little blue blips popped up, like Messenger and Poke. Now, Facebook will not only be the first web site you see on your laptop, perhaps the first app you open on your phone each morning. It will be the first thing you see every time you wake up your Android smartphone.
It’s a lot to take in. It’d be strange if you weren’t at least slightly concerned. Facebook knows this and thus, the explanation.
How much you want to bet we see a similar explanation when Facebook announces its Google Glass app? Glass Home?
Welcome to a new world.
Todd Greene is CEO of PubNub.
Mobile, web, and desktop online apps can be split into two categories: “static” or “real-time.”
Static apps represent the bulk of our online usage today: these are solitary, single-user experiences where content changes only when the user clicks a button, requests a new page, or does a “reload.” New information is presented only when the user asks for it.
Real-time apps are infinitely more engaging.
These apps mimic behaviors we’re used to having in the real world: content is pushed to us “as it happens.” Real-time applications let you edit docs together, battle your online buddies, find the closest taxi, and see when your friend is typing an “iMessage.” They let musicians perform from home and interact with adoring fans. Real-time apps make sure citizens know about critical safety issues as they happen. And real-time technology enables people to follow friends on a map, chat, share, and collaborate in a more natural, real-world, manner.
World of Warcraft, Facetime, WebEx, ETrade’s MarketCaster, and Facebook’s live “Ticker” may seem completely unrelated, but they all represent real-time apps, connecting users instantly with the real world. Another thing they have in common is that each cost tens of millions to design, build, deploy, and scale!
Real-time technology has always been complicated and expensive. But that’s changing.
Real-time networks emerge
New trends in consumer software are almost always driven by a sudden ubiquitous availability of an enabling technology. In the 90s, the launch of app servers moved websites from glossy brochures to destinations for online banking, travel, and commerce. A decade later, open source software stacks help kickstart massive social networks operating on a shoestring budget without writing big checks to Oracle and IBM.
Today, a new enabling technology has emerged that’s driving an explosion of real-time apps. “Real-Time Networks” like PubNub, Pusher, and Firebase offer the core building blocks for real-time, globally distributed, and offered on a pay-as-you-go model. (Full disclosure: I’m the CEO of PubNub, but we’re not alone in pioneering this movement).
The core building blocks of real-time
These real-time networks operate by establishing (and maintaining) a dedicated network socket connection to every device.
Until recently, this was an expensive proposition, roughly analogous to keeping a connected phone line open to all of your users, all the time. Thanks to the elasticity of the cloud and some innovative technologies, the costs of these dedicated connections has now dropped substantially.
But the magic happens once you have that connection. A real-time network offers high-speed delivery of data, targeted to individual devices or broadcast to everyone simultaneously. Presence-as-a-service provides an easy way to detect (and be notified instantly) when users go on/offline. Data streams can be stored for future use, and even played back like a DVR for data. Real-time audience visualization and out-of-the-box encryption comprise more of these core real-time building blocks.
As real-time networks become more commonplace, they are becoming adopted by new MMO games, business collaboration, and telecom companies. But their availability is also driving completely new kinds of real-time apps.
Real life enhanced by real-time data
Transportation is one of the earliest areas where we can see real-time technology changing our day-to-day behaviors. What was once a tedious, horribly unreliable experience, ordering a taxi, is now becoming easy, predictable, and even fun. Companies like GetTaxi, Sidecar, Uber, Lyft, and others let us order cabs with a single tap, and watch online as the cab approaches our location.
But it’s not just transportation that’s getting a facelift.
ClassDojo uses real-time technology to give teachers a way to incentivize classroom behavior, using smart phones to provide instant feedback to the student and his/her parents. Soon, mobile apps will show real-time queue length for each restroom or concession booth.
Digital advertising evolves
Brands are using real-time in digital campaigns to drive audience engagement.
Coca-Cola enhanced the American Music Awards red-carpet show by letting online viewers manipulating the video in real-time for their friends’ enjoyment, and powered live voting during the Superbowl. Louis Vuitton created a global, live, online fashion show with online viewer interaction synchronized with the video. Nike, Honda, Audi, Doritos, and Budwieiser are a few more examples of leading brands invested in their own real-time, user participation campaigns. Real-time in advertising is quickly becoming as popular as CGI was to TV ads in the 90’s.
The emergence of an online audience
Things get really exciting when apps are designed around the “audience experience”, instead of the “user experience.” Companies like TopHatter now offer a true real-time auction e-commerce platform, with avatars representing the bidders and auctioneer, complete with the sound of a gavel ending each auction. Stageit brings the live concert experience online: audience members make requests, cheer (virtually), and even tip the performer online.
Social TV offerings from Viggle, Yahoo!, Applicaster, and others have taken a similar approach to nationwide TV audiences with online voting, predictive games, and real-time trivia.
Real-time goes mainstream
Real-time networks let app developers focus on their core competencies like better UI, richer experiences, and more creative features, instead of worrying about the massive investment and ongoing maintenance required to deliver real-time services. The cloud made massive storage and processing available to everyone. Akamai solved the problem of globally scaling websites with content delivery networks.
Now, real-time networks have democratized real-time, you don’t have to be Facebook or Activision to deliver a real-time experience.
The real-time apps we see today are just the beginning — expect radically new possibilities in the way we shop, communicate, travel, work, educate, and experience the world. The Lego pieces are now all in place; it’s now up to the creative folks to change the way we interact online.
Filed under: Business, Dev, Media, Mobile, Social, VentureBeat
This week on the TechCrunch Gadgets Podcast we talk about bold moves by Verizon and T-Mobile and the Facebook Fone and Facebook Home.
This week we welcome Darrell “Patents” Etherington to our soundstage and I’ve removed quite a bit of the messy static.
We invite you to enjoy our weekly podcasts every Friday at 3pm Eastern and noon Pacific.
Intro Music by Rick Barr.
Google’s statement on Facebook’s introduction of “Home” was short and sweet, but very telling, so let’s dissect it a little bit. As we noted earlier, Facebook went with Android first because of its flexibility, basically it’s easy to customize.
Other platforms, not so much. Zuckerberg even mentioned that Windows Phone might be a bit easier to work with, calling it out as “somewhere in the middle” of Android and iOS.
Here’s what Google said to us a little while ago:
The Android platform has spurred the development of hundreds of different types of devices. This latest device demonstrates the openness and flexibility that has made Android so popular.
You’ll notice that the first thing that the company says is that there are “hundreds” of different types of devices running its mobile operating system. In the past, that’s been seen as a bad thing, due to fragmentation. Here, Google is clearly positioning this as an advantage, that is has more choices for consumers than say, Apple has.
Secondly, “this latest device,” being the HTC First, which is pre-installed with Facebook Home, demonstrates flexibility. There’s that word again. Clearly, Google is firing a rocket at its competitor Apple, which is notoriously very stiff when it comes to customization. In Apple’s mind, its users don’t know what they want to see until it shows it to them. By letting a company like Facebook take over the first experience a user has when it wakes up their phone, they are giving away pretty much everything. Again, Google points this out as a competitive advantage.
In an extended version of the statement to VentureBeat, Google made sure to pump up its own products at the same time:
And it’s a win for users who want a customized Facebook experience from Google Play — the heart of the Android ecosystem — along with their favorite Google services like Gmail, Search, and Google Maps.
In this added bit, Google makes sure to bring the attention back to its baked-in Android services, like search, email and maps. Is that Google getting a little bit jealous of all of the fuss over Facebook? Not at all. These companies are competitive in the sense that they’re both after eyeballs, but when it comes to social interactions, they couldn’t be more different. Forget the Google+ argument here, it wasn’t built to be a competitor to Facebook. Google owns search and email for a reason, they’re better products than what others offer.
Both Facebook and Google are the winners here. Facebook doesn’t have to build its own phone or operating system, and Google gets to keep pointing out the fact that customization is something that consumers want, and Apple doesn’t deliver on. The two companies are using each other, and as MG Siegler pointed out, are strange bedfellows.
Yes, Facebook has partnered with Apple to bring users a way to update a status message quicker, but it’s clear after seeing Facebook Home today, that it’s simply not enough interaction for the social network. For those who spend a good bit of time using Facebook on their mobile device, they will soon tire of having to wake up their phone, find the Facebook app, open it and read their notifications. Once they see a friend or colleague with the HTC First or another Android device with Facebook Home installed, they will wonder why they can’t do the same thing on their iPhone.
Other companies like Facebook are going to start getting interested in this approach as well, as far as introducing customized launchers for their userbase. Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp was at the Home event today, don’t you think he might go back to New York City and talk to his team about what a Tumblr-themed version of Android would look and act like? Of course he is. What about Dropbox’s Drew Houston, who was also at the event? Could filesharing become a driving force of your mobile experience? It depends on what type of user you are.
Don’t get me wrong, Apple isn’t in the corner crying right now, but some folks at the company have to be looking at today’s news and starting to think of ways to win back developers who want to follow Facebook’s lead and might start focusing on Android first.
Facebook Home has finally made the Android/Open Vs. iOS/Closed a mainstream issue.
[Photo credit: Flickr]