Facebook Evolving as It Turns 6

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-02-04 Print this article Print

Specifically, Facebook notched 3.52 percent of the upstream traffic, while Google News accounted for 1.39 percent of visits. Google Reader, my RSS feed reader of choice, barely rated at .01 percent of traffic. Moreover, Reader visits have stalled, Hopkins said.

She concluded: "Facebook could be a major disruptor to the News and Media category. And with the Wall Street Journal already publishing content to Facebook, perhaps the social network can avoid the run-ins that Google has suffered recently with Rupert Murdoch. We will continue to watch this space."

Kirkpatrick, in a follow-up post, exhorted Facebook to step up its news aggregation game-which includes telling users to become fans of the New York Times, CNN and Guardian Facebook Pages-to take share from the major search engines, which marginalize readers and other sources in the long tail.

But we may be limiting Facebook a tad. Facebook may have started as a social network, but one day it's going to capture the same sort of mind share that Google currently enjoys. Google owns search, Facebook owns "social."

We've seen what Google can do when it branches out, with mobile and location-based services and cloud computing collaboration. Facebook, roughly half Google's age, may have a higher ceiling at this point.

Dave McClure, who writes the Master of 500 Hats blog, noted that Facebook could excel as an e-commerce platform because users have no problem returning with great frequency.

Hitwise analyst Heather Dougherty noted that during the holidays over 2 percent of visitors to Facebook then visited a Website for a major retailer such as Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy or Bath & Body Works, "signifying that consumers were actively seeking their content and offerings."

Why couldn't Facebook become a supreme recommendation engine, with users going to the site to socialize, share and discuss news, and recommend products to buy? Facebook could include links to the aforementioned retailers to let friends buy what their friends recommend.

Happy birthday to Facebook and its crew. I look forward to the next six years to see what you can do.


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