Robert Scoble: Facebook Is Ugly

By David Cohen 

Tech blogger Robert Scoble believes Google Plus and Flipboard are easier on the eyes than Facebook, and he feels that the “ugly” appearance of the leading social network may be one of the causes of its equally ugly stock price.

Scoble wrote in a post on his ugly Facebook page:

Facebook has a deeper problem than just Vine/Twitter. Kudos to Instagram on adding videos and a neat steadicam feature, but in this photo, you can see the problem Facebook has: It’s starting to look ugly compared with Google Plus and Flipboard, among others.

Here are two of my screens — one with Google Plus, one with Facebook. Google Plus is just getting better and better. Photos on Google Plus are stunning when compared with the same photos uploaded to Facebook (because Google Plus can deal with higher resolutions, and it automatically increases the quality).

Another problem: I have the new Facebook design of News Feed, but most people in my life still have the old design. The old design looks even uglier than my feed.

If there’s a danger at Facebook, it’s the assumption that Facebook has us all locked in and we aren’t going to go elsewhere. Well, Google Plus used to be a ghost town. It no longer is. So SOMEONE moved over there. In just the past minute, 84 posts flowed into my screen from 5,000 friends over there.

This focus on design at Google is showing up in mobile, too.

Is this a problem for Facebook? Not today, I agree. But long-term? These trends are troubling. If Google takes back the high-value users, then that’s very troubling to Facebook. Already, kids have moved a lot of their online behaviors away from Facebook and to things like all of the chat/messaging apps and Vine (which beat Facebook by many months).

I believe this stuff is already affecting Facebook’s stock price. Why? Investors can see that Facebook is feeling old and tired and isn’t seeming to be that innovative.

If I were an exec at Facebook, like Sheryl Sandberg, I would be VERY troubled by all of this. It’s not enough to have a hacker culture anymore. You have to have a design culture, too. It’s amazing that Google is getting the upper hand at that.

Readers: Do you agree or disagree with Scoble?