Today marks the one year anniversary of the Facebook platform. The platform was the inspiration for this blog which I started four days after the launch. Since then a lot has happened. When the platform first launched, everybody knew that something big had occurred, we just didn’t know how big it is. Today, there is an entire industry built around Facebook applications. There are 25,914 applications with over 1 billion combined installs according to Adonomics.com. At the time I made some wild predictions:
- “Within the next month Facebook will easily become the social network of choice to all Myspace users unless Myspace can immediately go open source.”
- “Facebook is going to rapidly manifest itself into Googleâ€™s biggest competitor.” They will become the people search engine.
- Facebook will defeat LinkedIn
- A golden application will arise
Absolutely none of predictions came true but it has been an absolutely wild ride. Venture capital funds were created for the Facebook platform and a number of small businesses have been created from the platform. As long as people keep visiting social network sites and enjoy staying connected to others online, there will be an industry surrounding the users. We have seen the launch of ad networks, conferences, development companies and gaming networks in the past year.
During this time Facebook has more than doubled its user base to over 70 million active users. This impressive growth inspired all the competing social network sites to launch their own platform and now the race is on to see who can extend their social networks beyond the walled gardens and to the rest of the web. While there is still a substantial amount of debate surrounding the control of user data, the debate was not as heated one year ago.
There are now thousands of developers still racing to try and build mini-empires of users across all the social network sites. Many of these developers have created a wasteland of spam while a few have developed valuable user experiences. We still don’t know where this is going aside from the fact that Facebook wants to make sure that they have the largest image of the global social graph.
While it may sound evil, Facebook is a business and there job is to continue to thrive. As hundreds of thousands of people sign up everyday for the site, there is no question that the growth will continue for at least the short term. The next year will be an important one. Will Microsoft buy Facebook? Will they file their long awaited IPO? Will Facebook tear down the walled garden and support total open standards or will they continue the fight to become the standard?
There are many things that are unknown but one thing is certain: the past year has been a wild ride with the Facebook platform. I only hope it continues for the second year.