Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times’ Bits blog about the Facebook Creative Labs initiative to create new mobile applications, the differences between Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and turning 30, among other things.
Zuckerberg referred to Facebook’s flagship mobile apps as “this one big blue app,” and he said of Facebook Creative Labs:
So what we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app.
As for Messenger and WhatsApp, he told Manjoo:
Well, so there are a bunch of things here. One thing is that Facebook Messenger is actually a really successful thing. More than 10 billion messages per day flow through Facebook’s messaging products. But I think we basically saw that the messaging space is bigger than we’d initially realized, and that the use cases that WhatsApp and Messenger have are more different than we had thought originally. Messenger is more about chatting with friends, and WhatsApp is like an SMS replacement. Those things sound similar, but when you go into the nuances of how people use it, they are both very big in different markets.
I think you want to look at the things that we do in three stages. First, there’s Facebook the app. A billion people or more are using it, and it is a business.
Next there’s Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Graph Search — these are use cases that people use a lot, and they will probably be the next things that will become businesses at Facebook. But you want to fast-forward three years before that will actually be a meaningful thing.
Then there are things that are nascent, that we’re inventing from scratch, like Home, Paper, or any of the other Creative Labs work we’re going to do. Maybe in three to five years, those will be in the stage where Instagram and Messenger are now.
So what we want to do is build a pipeline of experiences for people to have. It would be a mistake to compare any of them in different life cycles to other ones. They’re in different levels.
Zuckerberg and Manjoo also discussed the growth of Graph Search, the slow adoption of Home, his reverse-field on users’ real names and anonymity, and whether approaching the age of 30 changed the way he looks at Facebook’s offerings.
Readers: What did you think of Zuckerberg’s comments?
Photos by Courtney Rundles.