Last night, when being interviewed by John Battelle, Mark Zuckerberg dropped an indication that Facebook is considering opening up at some point. While there was no mention of when that would occur, the fact that they are considering an opening of their network is significant. By opening up their platform to make identities transportable will help them to become a Google competitor. Without opening their platform, Facebook is indeed risking becoming a fad. Conversely, the older generation’s presence on Facebook is expanding rapidly and this generation is known to stick with the sites that they use.
As long as Facebook can continue to innovate and hire employees that enable them to roll out new features at a quicker pace, Facebook has a chance of staying on top. Facebook continues to have significant risk exposure to major players in the industry though. Many in Silicon Valley know this (as Dean Takahashi wrote yesterday) and it seems on any slip-up by Zuckerberg could have industry wide consequences.
While it is impossible to say what would happen if Facebook falls off their high horse that they are currently riding or what will happen when Google launches their social platform, Facebook does have a shot at becoming an industry leader. It’s as simple as that. Facebook now needs to make all the right moves and currently they have a board of advisors that can help them execute successfully. If Facebook does indeed decide to make identities transportable, I believe they could become the center hub for a large portion of identities online.