Facebook's Relentless Quest to Acquire New Content, Web Services

Facebook's Relentless Quest to Acquire New Content, Web Services
There's Strength in Numbers (Part One)
A Content Destination for Professional Information
Open Graph Is at the Center of Facebook's Plans
Should Google Be Concerned About Search?
Businesses Need Facebook's Help
Acquiring Companies That Matter (and Could Steal Eyeballs)
Facebook Is Rising as a YouTube Competitor
Zuckerberg Is Keeping China in His Plans
Looking to the Developing World for Growth
Facebook Is Moving Into Industries Beyond Social Networking
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Facebook's Relentless Quest to Acquire New Content, Web Services

By Don Reisinger

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There's Strength in Numbers (Part One)

How is Facebook working its way toward Web growth goals? It's using its strength in numbers. The company currently has 890 million daily active users and 1.4 billion monthly active users. There are about 1.2 billion people accessing its service each month on mobile. Those numbers give Facebook significant power in negotiations with advertisers and content providers. Those users also help it generate billions of dollars each quarter, giving it the cash it needs to keep growing.

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A Content Destination for Professional Information

If Facebook is indeed partnering with the likes of The New York Times and National Geographic, that could represent a massive paradigm shift in the marketplace. It would make Facebook a new destination for professional content, not just user-generated content. If the service is successful, some of the larger news Websites might start to worry about losing their audience as readers use the social network to get their daily news fix.

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Open Graph Is at the Center of Facebook's Plans

At the center of Facebook's plan for future growth is Open Graph. The service is essentially a way for site owners to prepare their content for sharing on Facebook and which in turn will encourage their own users to get onto Facebook to share content. The round robin puts Facebook at the center of the Web and ensures everything filters to the social network. It's a smart plan that drives more content to Facebook.

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Should Google Be Concerned About Search?

Although Facebook doesn't have a search capability in the same league as Google, the company's search bar is far more capable than some might think. It can be used to search for companies and individuals on the service. It will also go out to the Web to find content. Better yet, it's intuitive enough for users to search for different items (like photos of person X and person Z) and return relevant results. It's a smart search that could go a long way.

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Businesses Need Facebook's Help

Part of Facebook's control over the Web is the company's ability to attract companies. There is hardly a company of any significant size in business today that can operate without a Facebook page. Businesses increasingly rely on Facebook to drive customers to their products and services, and all the while Facebook is capitalizing on that.

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Acquiring Companies That Matter (and Could Steal Eyeballs)

One of the best things about being a top Internet destination is having the cash to make strategic acquisitions that provide new social services or content that keep people coming back to Facebook. That's why Facebook bought photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging app WhatsApp. By acquiring those companies, Facebook is able to expand its reach and keep users engaged with its own services. It's a smart move even if Facebook hasn't found a way to fully monetize these services.

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Facebook Is Rising as a YouTube Competitor

Google is contending with Facebook on more than search. Google's video sites combined for 144 million total unique viewers in February, according to ComScore, ahead of Facebook's 90.4 million viewers. Facebook was once far behind Google in the video space but is now increasingly gaining ground. It's unlikely it'll catch YouTube in the near term, but it's become a true video destination and a threat to YouTube's dominance.

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Zuckerberg Is Keeping China in His Plans

Although Facebook isn't currently available in China, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made some inroads last year by going to the country, visiting universities and even speaking fluent Mandarin. The trip was viewed as a way for Facebook to get back into China and, at the very least, try to generate advertising revenue from Chinese companies. No other major U.S. Web company, including Google, is competing in China right now. If Facebook can find a way back in—no small task—it could put itself light-years ahead of others.

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Looking to the Developing World for Growth

Facebook's Zuckerberg has said that he intends to help bring the next billion people online by attracting users in developing countries around the world. A key component in that is his Internet.org initiative, which aims to bring affordable Web connectivity to people in developing countries. If Zuckerberg has his way, Facebook will be the reason people get online.

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Facebook Is Moving Into Industries Beyond Social Networking

Like Google, Facebook is investing all its free cash and effort in businesses that complement its core social networking ventures. Facebook is moving into potential new growth sectors with acquisitions such as Oculus VR for virtual reality, and it also got into the field of unmanned aerial vehicles with its Ascenta buy. Facebook has kept its plans for those businesses close to the vest, but Zuckerberg claims they will all eventually help its core business. We'll have to wait and see to find out whether that's true.

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