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Facebook's Three New Products (facebook.com)
143 points by hunterowens on July 6, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 178 comments

I don't see any products, there. I just see a couple of lame features. Skype and group chat. Skype already does Skype, so I'm not sure why I'd load up Facebook just so I could skype through a webpage, instead. My IM client has done group chat for years, so I'm not sure why I'd load up facebook just so I could chat with a group of those people, either.

This kind of falls in line with my confusion as to why people ruin their websites with all these components and hooks into Facebook. They claim that they need Facebook Likes and Logins and Discussions in their websites, because Facebook drives traffic. Even if they hate it, they have to succumb to it. You know, for generating traffic. My question remains - why do you want to try appealing to a group of people to whom Facebook is "the internet" and who do everything through Facebook? Those people aren't going to make a point of going to your website again, unless someone links them to it a second time down the road. It seems like a lot of resources (not to mention website screen real-estate) given up for very little desirable return.

When I was in high school, almost everyone used AIM. Then Facebook Chat came out and practically crushed it. Why? It wasn't better (it was far, far, worse, actually — you couldn't chat with somebody without one of you complaining about it), but everyone was there. It became the defacto way to reach people. It was successful for the same reason Facebook was successful.

> everyone was there

This is exactly why I turned chat off. I have no desire to be contacted by old high school classmates who happen to be bored and browsing facebook, and see me pop up.

Yes but people who are bored and browsing Facebook and don't follow technology minute by minute, outnumber people like us by a huge margin. Facebook launching these three (not so new) features just means that its making video calling more accessible to other people, which means its probably going to work for them.

(Personally, I still feel surprised whenever I see anyone even using Facebook chat.)

I use Facebook chat to talk to close friends because sometimes it's more convenient than picking up a phone to talk to someone out of the country. Allows for more random conversations. Having the Skype feature is an added bonus, no one's requiring you to use it. Just because FB chat is more buggy, that doesn't mean the convenience doesn't highly outweigh the disadvantages. Logging into a different chat client would be for chat-only, while FB isn't.

It's making it slightly more accesible. People you generally would be willing to make a video call to are probably already on your skype, phone, or other contacts.

You can set up a friends list, and turn on chat only for that friends list, if you like. Set up the friends list at https://www.facebook.com/friends/edit/ and then click the little settings icon at the bottom right (in the new chat design) and choose "Limit availability...".

With the old chat design, choose chat at the bottom right, then the "Friend lists" menu item in the chat window, and add the friends list you want to affect chat availability, and then turn availability on/off to particular lists.

Useful for parents and work colleagues who don't use other IM or who you don't want to give your personal IM accounts to.

I think this discussion made me realize that I want there to be a minimum barrier to contacting me in a way that requires instant feedback. I don't care who has my e-mail address because I can reply to e-mail on my own time and terms, but I'd rather people have to do a little work to contact me via IM, and I want it to be pretty hard for people to casually call me just to chat.

Look into facebook groups. A bit of a pain to setup (especially compared to circles) - but it gives you quick ways to limit the news-feed to only a subset of friends or to limit who can see you online.

Sure, but that's extra work, and the people I'd allow to see my presence generally can reach me in other ways.

Then don't use it! Seriously, you said the problem was that you didn't want anyone contacting you. But the fact is that FB does this quite well, and it's not that much work. And, it's damn convenient. I, awhile ago, basically switched over to it completely, as it integrates into my Jabber client quite nicely. Now people know if they want to contact me, they should use FB IM.

I assume you mean FB lists, as the groups feature is quite different. /pedantic

Oops. Me bad. FB lists it is.

Maybe it's just me, but there seems to be a 10 year gap in your IM technology timeline there. AIM straight to Facebook? Was I the only one using ICQ, MSN, Google Chat before Facebook came along?

You may have been one of the few using ICQ and MSN after AIM. ICQ was much earlier in the chronology (we used to play with it when we got bored on IRC) and no one used MSN. :-P

MSN was (is?) pretty popular in Latin America. I had 0 "real life" friends on AIM. My few AIM buddies were people I met in games.

Indeed. I don't know about today, but back in 2006 MSN was as popular as AIM and Yahoo! worldwide and particularly strong in certain areas -- there are some countries where it was even a verb ("I'll MSN you"). But then MS changed the name to "Windows Live Messenger", underinvested, and prioritized search instead. Ah well.

is. I was just all over Central and South America, and internet cafes were always full of high school kids, every single screen full of MSN chat windows.

Indeed, here in Argentina MSN is the default chat application.

My understanding is that MSN was/is the most popular IM service most everywhere but the US (because of AIM?) and East Asia (where they have their own regionally popular services, like QQ in China).

I used all of those - and ICQ was still largely my favorite, if only because it supported offline messages.

I think its largest drawback was using account numbers, instead of allowing alphanumeric vanity names.

Let's not forget the tack-a-tack sound...

I think this is somewhat regional. I'm from Canada, and no one I know uses AIM. MSN seems to be the most common chat program, although Skype is increasing in popularity.

Yea same with me. In Canada we used MSN and when I moved back to the US it was AIM, even though MSN felt like a much better product.

>Was I the only one using ICQ, MSN, Google Chat before Facebook came along

I don't know, was you the only person on that service and thus have no-one to talk to?

IM is always running in the background. Facebook requires going to the website and logging in and monitoring it. And being "available" to a huge swath of people. Not to mention, all of my colleagues and co-workers are on IM. I'm not going to reach out to a colleague to ask about a client via facebook chat and I'm not going to communicate with a client via facebook, instead of IM.

In short, Facebook likely contains everyone you've ever met or dealt with in person or online and "friended" that can potentially chat with you -- IM likely contains only the people you actually need to chat with.

"Everyone is there" is becoming an increasingly poor reason to justify selling your soul to a particular social network (as an individual or a business).

When I was in school everyone used MSN and then later when I switched AIM. Still use them, because those people are still there. Have really mostly ignored facebook chat, and fbchat also does not show user status messages.

They've basically just brought facebook chat on par with instant messengers from the 2000s except you have to install something additional for video chat.

I think cheap text messaging helped to kill AIM more than Facebook.

It’s for people who already spend a lot of time on Facebook. They don’t have to bother anymore using dedicated software. Simple as that. You are looking at it from the wrong perspective.

He's clearly being purposefully obstructive in his comments. Obviously if you're on FB already then why open Skype, why open an IM client, that's how integration works.

The parent is asking the equivalent of why you'd add maps to google when you have a perfectly good road map out in the car.

Typical parent.

Lol. I should know, I am one.

FB chat has a jabber interface. It can be used by those of us who don't sit on FB all day too. Pretty convenient. Now, I hope they'll get the group chat working via jabber too.

I think you are setting up a false premise here.

There are many people (including me) who have been using the internet for a very very very long time and don't see facebook as the internet even though we use it.

And I can see that I get quite a few sign-ups to my service that way.

Also the problem is not as much whether people use it for traffic generation. The problem is when they only use it for that.

I am actually beginning to consult my clients on how to build their own digital ecosystems so that they don't leave all the value inside the gates of facebook, twitter etc. but rather attempt to get the value transfered back inside their own ecosystem.

Once you start seeing it that way things start to look very different.

I made a longer argument about it here:


Don't need a Skype login, or need to know anyone's Skype login.

That is a killer integration feature. I wonder how this works...

There is some detail in https://www.facebook.com/notes/philip-su/building-video-call... about how the interface between Skype and Facebook works and about the browser plug-in behaviour.

Skype has an internal login with Facebook feature?

It looks to me like GOOG FB and Apple are trying to get to video calls and own them before the phone companies wake up and realize how valuable their own social graph is. So far the carrier's have had a gold mine and wasted the opportunity.

The carriers would have had to work together to seize the social space. Instead, they'll just charge $15/month for the "Unlimited Social Package"

E.g. http://www.bell.ca/shopping/en_CA_ON.Unlimited-Social-Networ...

Yea I was surprised they put the "show most chatty friends in chat list" as a product. That seems like a very small feature. Adding people to group chat? I thought you could already do this, but I don't really use Facebook chat too much. Seems very underwhelming to say the least.

All your friends are on Facebook, so you don't have to search/find them on Skype. N-to-N video communication is now much easier. Default will be to use FB rather than the Skype client, especially once they add voice calls, conference calls, and group video chat.

You are very right about certain groups of people thinking Facebook is the Internet.

Given their social networking dominance, their swimming pools filled with vc money, and the top engineers working for them, does anyone else feel like Facebook are underachievers?

Considering they had to have known about G+ for a while before it launched, you would think they would really hit something out of the park in terms of competitive features. These are all pretty lackluster, imho.

G+ launched with Group video chat (in the Hangouts feature) with no fanfare at all, as it if was nothing.

FB's announcement today has spent a lot of time talking about how much work it was to implement...

It's got to be a huge kick in the pants to them. I kind of feel bad for them.

Apple does this every release. Marketing is important.

Facebook is now the ubiquitous video chat social network, built on Skype. Google+ is Circles on your Gmail. Everything else you say requires some level of convincing.

Except that Hangout is a lot more social than the Facebook/Skype integration. Google+ has out-social'ed Facebook.

"A lot more social" is pretty vague.

Facebook is showing the signs of its alliance to Microsoft in more ways than one here.

I see one way (using Skype, although apparently that started some time ago). What are the other ways?

Downloading .exe files to Linux computers seems to be a very Microsofty thing to do.

I SERIOUSLY doubt MS was giving them architectural guidance on how to make this work. Probably would have more to do with the architectural experience of the devs.

I wasn't suggesting that MS told them to do that. To my knowledge, this first time that Facebook has left the Web and launched a feature only available to specific OSs by way of desktop applications.

Remember that this video chat is not a web page. It's a Microsoft (and Apple? I don't know) desktop application that integrates into their web page.

I'm suggesting that Facebook is showing their alliance to Microsoft by ignoring some other OSs and launching Microsoft-powered features. If you include video chat as an integral part of Facebook, then you can no longer call Facebook a web site.

Thanks. That wasn't clear from your earlier post (and I didn't know that this was a desktop app either).

:) To be fair, G+'s Hangouts is also currently a desktop app (requires the Gtalk plugin I think). I suspect Google will move away from that and go towards a full web page. We'll see. This is all so exciting.

Yes but they at least provide the appropriate plugin for Linux users.

Yep! I was Hanging Out on Ubuntu with 6 friends on about day 2 of G+. Facebook doesn't even support my OS, so there's absolutely 0 chance I'll use their video chat.

Did Google show their alliance to Microsoft when they released Chrome for Windows well ahead of other platforms?

Things I see them both doing: playing catch-up, stumbling on user experience, appealing to the lowest common denominator rather than the leading edge.

Hangouts is group video. Huddle is group text chats, which for some reason is mobile only and has no web interface. No one uses it 'cause not everyone has an Android device.

I meant group video chat. Thanks for catching that. I've updated my comment.

I've used this video chat feature, well, looks like something done in hurry. Quality kind of sucks

Facebook doesn't need to have competitive features they only need to have comparative features. Google+ has video chat, now Facebook does. It doesn't matter that Hangout is better. People don't switch social networks based on any single feature.

Facebook didn't have to be very good when their main competitors were MySpace and Friendster, two poster children for incompetence who blew early leads in quick succession while at times appearing to be run by circus clowns. Fortunately for Facebook success is relative: for a site whose primary purpose is to manage your social network it's been sorely lacking in any credible tools to manage social networks. Facebook is basically Geocities with comments and photo-sharing. Now Zuck and Co are going to actually have to put some thought into it.

One of the reasons for FB's victory was that its design is staid, standard, but stable compared to the script injection nightmare that MySpace's customization turned into. For all of Zuckerberg's youthful personality (at least as portrayed by the media), it almost feels like Facebook has had a dry corporate juggernaut type ethos from the beginning. FB didn't so much innovate as much as it dominated by creating a cleaner, better-ordered social network. No wonder its color scheme is big blue.

FB became quite awesome when they integrated Friendfeed's technology and the stream became quick and much more transparent in terms of usability.

At the same time, when Buzz came out, it was even faster and cleaner. Just not placed in the right context. There must have been some lessons and technology learned from Buzz.

I agree with what you said, but: remember when the Facebook "Wall" was just a graffiti wall, a big text box that any of your friends could edit?

Do you really think that attitude will allow them to maintain their dominance?

IMO it won't be their tech or attitude that will bring an eventual end to their dominance but shear fashion. Trend following. If Google position themselves and look cool and capture the "cool kids" then FB will lose out to them (to some extent). FB is already getting a little taint, it's run a good innings in internet time.

Whichever, G+ or FB, manages to capture the buzz of "hangouts with famous people" will probably take the current round. This to me is the iteration of one of Twitter's big wins; the chance to rub shoulders with "stars".

For me, and I suspect most here, such things don't really matter. I'll stay with FB as long as most of my friends are there and it works reasonably well.


I sent my wife the intro link for Google+ when they launched and she couldn't even be bothered to check it out. Why? Because everyone she knows is on facebook.

If her friends move, then she'll move. It'll probably annoy her to have to switch too.

> If her friends move, then she'll move.

And every of her friends will move if the other friends move, etc. But in reality, it is enough if only one of her friends, the most influential one moves, and then all the worker bees will follow.

> Because everyone she knows is on facebook.

But why is everyone on facebook in the first place? Because one of them, the group leader, the early adopter, the trend setter, decided first, then the rest passively followed. If the trend setter again decides to go G+, the effort to move off Facebook will be less then losing the queen bee, so they will follow again.

I totally agree.

I'm wondering what made the group leaders adopt? Was it features? Trendy name and logo? Did it seem like the hip thing to do? Exclusivity / scarcity?

Large marketing firms dedicate resources to finding "trend setters" and "cool kids". http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8...

Older video: "Merchants of Cool" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/

Or look at a Goog search "marketing trendsetters | "trend-setter"

Lots of noise. The Merchants of Cool is a good relevant watch.

I heard about that "Merchants of Cool" video but never got around to watching. Thanks for the reminder, it's back near the top of my TODOs.

What do you think Facebook should have built/announced?

Pretty much all of the really useful features are also big privacy violators, and with the uncertainty around how the public views social networking privacy, FB is smart to wait and let Google make the first move.

Those who don't innovate, fall behind. Who was it that said companies kill themselves, and it's not the competitors that do it?

You know logic says they won't be able to maintain their dominance but history shows that things don't always follow logically. It's going to be super interesting what plays out next.

I think the proper question should be "For how long do you really think that attitude will allow them to maintain their dominance?". Maybe Facebook is in the positions where playing catch-up is good enough for them in the midterm.

>"It doesn't matter that Hangout is better."

From a technical implementation perspective maybe Hangout is better. However, from a social networking perspective 3/4 of a billion Skype users is clearly better. And from a marketing perspective, giving Skype users worldwide a reason to choose Facebook over competing products is brilliant.

The presentation seemed a little lackluster. It's like FB + Skype were planning a big surprise and then Google dropped a bigger one with G+ last week and FB/Skype were left standing, shouting "us too!" but with a smaller product + feature set.

great summary, you nailed both the content and the tone

The video features built into gchat have served my needs perfectly. Between hangouts & youtube video sharing, I think google+ is out-shining them at this point in time.

The video features built into gchat have served my needs perfectly

1) The average person knows more people on Facebook, then people with a Gmail account.

2) You, and your other geeky friends live in Gmail. The rest of the world lives inside Facebook.

The rest of the world lives inside Facebook.

For now.

To me, there's exactly one compelling thing about Facebook: It illustrated that normal humans will join and use a social network.

Beyond that, I don't see any reason why their adoption patterns will differ from those we've already seen with other humans on other "social" web properties (Hi Livejournal/Facethejury/Friendster et al!). Which is to say, the enthusiastic folks eventually get those who joined begrudgingly involved, everyone has fun for a while, then everyone gets bored and moves on.

It's not as if nerds who have SRS PRIVACY CONCERNZ and talk about things like data portability are the only people growing weary of Facebook. An approximate majority of the musicians/DJs/artists I know in real life and on the internet say they hate Facebook but maintain an account for promotional purposes. But they all seem to have really warmed up to Twitter. (Specifically, most in the music crowd seem to have adopted a combination of Twitter and Soundcloud as their primary internet residencies, filling the void where MySpace once resided.)

To assume that Facebook will remain the social network of note just because they're Facebook, or just because they got there first (sort of) seems naïve.

The network effect will be the primary driver of where we all—geeks and normies alike—end up next. Facebook doesn't really have any control over that. And we've seen that the network effect can linger even after the product has effectively failed (Hi MySpace!), so having the network now may not be a reliable indicator that they'll keep it, even in the very near term.

And that leaves the product. Which is fine, I guess. Not that bad, not that great. But when Google announces their first real crack at a genuine social network and it has features no one's even talked about yet, and it's cooked directly into their mobile platform running on about 180 Mm devices worldwide [1][2], Facebook's "awesome" reply, "We've got video chat now," falls flat. To me at least.

[1] http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1622614 [2] Android/Google+ and some of the new iOS 5 features along with Apple's Twitter partnership have me semi-convinced that we're moving towards the transparent social network, where membership has much more to do with which smartphone you buy than anything else. I predict that in a competition with Google and Apple/Twitter, Microsoft/Facebook will turn out to be also-rans. Also, poor RIM.


These never reached the audience Facebook has today. 750M users and growing, FB won social networking. Game over.

It's not as if nerds who have SRS PRIVACY CONCERNZ and talk about things like data portability are the only people growing weary of Facebook.

I guarantee you this is a very tiny portion. I live with someone who spends lots of time on FB ("Oh, look at this pictures from XYZ"). They don't even know there is a discussion going around privacy.

To assume that Facebook will remain the social network of note just because they're Facebook, or just because they got there first (sort of) seems naïve.

It will just as Microsoft has dominated the OS space. Another desktop OS is not going to kill MSFT, but maybe mobile will. Same for FB, it will take a different experience to get people to stop spending as much time on the site. Something like Instagram or With with a few added features/mechanisms.

I don't have the time this afternoon to find hard stats on this, but if you were to plot active userbase over total internet users worldwide for, lets say, AIM & Livejournal c.2004, Friendster c.2006, MySpace c.2008, and Facebook and Twitter currently, I suspect Facebook would appear much less the unstoppable force/immovable object you're making it out to be.

I'm acquainted with hundreds of people like your roommate, and I'm aware that normal people don't give a shit about our geeky critiques of Facebook. What I was trying to communicate is that they likely won't bail on Facebook for those reasons, but they might because there are too many annoying people on Fb, or they don't want to get Faceskyped by their mom, or something that's more interesting or lower friction comes along, or other people move for a variety of reasons and they just follow.

FB won social networking. Game over.

I hate to put it this way, but what are you doing on HN? Seriously. I thought we'd all read The Innovator's Dillema. Nobody wins anything for long, the game's never over. That's sort of the point of capitalism.

I hate to put it this way, but what are you doing on HN? Seriously.

I apologize if I offended you, Ryan. All I am asking for is for an example of one company that had reach the sort of mass FB has (coupled with a total dominance in its vertical)and ended up loosing to a competitor. Enlighten me.


Yahoo was a portal that was made "irrelevant" by Google. Google was not in the portal business. This is what happens when a company comes in and changes user behavior. In other words Google did not build a better portal, they build something that made portals irrelevant over time.

FB won social networking. Game over.

Youngsters today and the lack of history being taught in schools. History is full of winners, who after a period of time became losers (or at least not the same level of winning).

So what is your point exactly? That the only reason people will stay on Facebook is that they already are on Facebook? By this logic they never would have gotten on Facebook in the first place, because Facebook started out empty, and everybody already was somwhere else, say MySpace, and ICQ/AIM/YIM/MSN before that.

So what is your point exactly? That the only reason people will stay on Facebook is that they already are on Facebook

Yes. Your neighbor's mama was never on Myspace, ICQ, AIM, YIM, MSN, and chances are she is not on Gmail video chatting.

I'm not convinced. I caught up with a couple of friends recently, not the geekiest crowd, but all but one have Android devices. The Android owners now live in googleverse, and none are on Facebook more often than they check their gmail. I also know a fair amount of people who check Facebook once a week or rarer. My aunt, who is just discovering that she can forward me funny pictures via email, contacts me from her Yahoo account. The rest of the world? Not quite.

The bigger question is still whether people will actually use these things. Where people means greater than 5% of the userbase.

Facebook just works pretty darn well, though. The application is almost always responsive, it's extremely polished, and it's always getting a bit stronger in what it offers.

If that's underachieving, sign me up.

You're a lucky one I guess, or I'm unlucky. Facebook has constant little issues, whether it's just plain slow, the back button doesn't do anything, clicking a link doesn't do anything, chat is always on the fritz, or some other annoyance.

"Facebook just works pretty darn well" i guess you have never interacted with their platform/api?

Shallow api integration (like button, send button) just works pretty darn well.

You are correct, though. I, along with most people who use facebook, haven't had to do any deeper platform/api integration.

I certainly does _not_ work pretty darn well. A couple examples of high-impact bugs:

- Repeated posts in the news feed. The first ~10 posts or so in the news feed are repeated as you scroll down.

- In the news feed, if I see and play a video, it plays. Great. If I continue going down the feed and then click on a photo, it goes into the "theater" mode, and for some obscure reason, it plays the video again (except I cannot see it; I can only hear it). The only way to stop it is to exit theater mode. This keeps happening over and over again every time I enter theater mode. I am then forced to refresh the entire page if I want to see some pictures without distracting noise in the background.

These are just a couple examples; there are many more. After talking to some friends, it seems I'm not the only one experiencing them. Now, nobody's perfect. It's OK if these bugs got into production for a few days or even weeks before getting fixed. But it's been months now... For a company full of brilliant engineers, that is unacceptable.

Yes, it's odd. I agree with you, from my perspective, Facebook has 100% uptime and virtually no bugs. It's as good as Google (maybe better since GMail is often crappy for me.) It's clear that others see very different things. I wonder what the difference is?

(Now the Facebook iPhone app is really buggy, I will give you that.)

I'm curious as to what set of the features you use, because I seem to have chosen a set with the opposite experience: responsiveness is often spotty, polish is lacking, and the offering seems to be getting weaker if anything. That said, maybe the new offerings will help fix some of that, but I'm not particularly sanguine.

Facebook's quality seems to be directly linked to their need to acquire users. When they started out they were excellent — I remember being very impressed that a social network could be this nice. Now that everyone uses them, they have no hunger for quality.

I've always thought Facebook was a mediocre looking product at best.

You can call 'em what you want, but I imagine running the second most popular site in the world must feel pretty good.

Also, I went with the setup, and not only did facebook not support linux, it doesn't detect I'm on a linux system and started to download a .EXE file!

Feeling some pressure from google + ?

And GTalk 1-1 video chat and Google+ Hangouts both support Linux perfectly... looks like Google wins this user's eyeballs.

same thing. i thought that was complete fail on their end. a .exe? come on.

Not even as much as a "Sorry your operating system isn't supported at this stage!" watch this space type message, just an in your face EXE download!

Used to being a second class citizen but most sites of recent years have a recognizer at the very least!

It detected my Mac OS X just fine, asked me to execute a Java Applet and then make my Firefox crashed.

I restarted Facebook using Chromium and stared a Video Call. It works like charm.

While I can appreciate (in fact, I probably don't) the technical difficulty of delivering a chat/video service to a userbase of 750M; these simply aren't compelling innovations for most (especially younger) people. Of particular note, these features aren't sticky (the usability of these features is common to _many_ other services) nor do they raise particularly high barriers to entry for competitors (Google has already nailed these services at large scales, integrating them into G+ is probably trivial). What FB (or Google for that matter) needs to nail is social search based on the graph of what your friends are doing/reading/buying... this is one area where FB has a distinct early advantage (they have more mature social graphs). I'm convinced social search will be the single feature that displaces or entrenches FB, not chat.

Most people's social graphs are too small (130 people) to be useful. Well we will use an extended social-graph, you might say, but if you are extending the social-graph, why not include the entire internet? Why would my social-graph contain better (more accurate and relevant) information about doing a thing than doathing.com?

The social-graph is a reduced set of the internet. It is probably easier to search, but how will the results be better than Google?

I think you are mistaking how to integrate the social graph into search. You don't do it by exclusively searching within the social graph, you use the social graph to augment your traditional search. The best way for me to show you what I mean is for you to look at the attempts blekko is making. Create an account, and connect your facebook profile, wait 1 hour, and then do searches with "/likes" appended. You'll still get mostly normal results but the instances where a friend has liked a site will be featured more prominently. Facebook has not been able to "just make a search engine" with the social graph because making a traditional search engine is a non-trivial challenge.

Hasn't google already taken a huge step towards this with their +1 initiative (which is obviously tied to G+)?

With Google's velocity, I think they're probably going to get to "social search" first (good luck to Blekko, but reliance on FB is not going to scale - especially when FB looks to monetize - social search is their meal ticket).

Bing has a similar feature and one that might have more life given MSFT's relationship status with Facebook.

There's a lot of room between the average user's social graph and the entire internet. I think if you got the best 20% of the internet compiled intelligently based on your social graph, you'd be in good shape.

>but how will the results be better than Google?

You have control of your own social graph, you don't have control over who puts a page up for Google to crawl. You're using the authority someone has as part of your network to filter what comes in to the network - search only on sites that friends-of-friends have recommended and you're unlikely to get spam or sites that are hard to navigate or that won't provide a good service. If I'm looking for new outdoor equipment I could look at the online stores that fellow scouts have used and recommended and so save time weeding out the better stores.

Just my immediate reaction to your question. There are clearly benefits in both types of search. Also this presupposes that FB aren't trying to inject advertised offerings in to your social-graph based search; probably a bad assumption as that there looks like gold to me.

> this is one area where FB has a distinct early advantage (they have more mature social graphs).

Doesn't not having a search engine trump having a big social graph when it comes to search? Building search engines is not trivially easy. It took Microsoft 10 years to get it right.

this is exactly what www.blekko.com is trying to do.

I thought what blekko was trying to do was offload the work of building a search index onto its users.

Index technology is very well-known and pretty straightforward. You crawl the web. The quality of your search results are a function of your algorithm, and the depth/breadth of your index (created by this crawling). Blekko is attempting to outsource the algorithm part. Rather than play the cat and mouse game with spam sites, why not let power-users define what the best is, and then only return those results to others. Integrating the social graph is actually an incredibly powerful and compelling way to do search.

Basically returning results and ordering by the +1s your social graph has possibly already marked?

If I search for "2011 movies", that sounds great.

If I search for "digital camera", it might help a bit but if I were looking for the opinions of my photographer friends, I'd just ask them.

If I search for "us air strikes in libya" it might help but I would expect an algorithm to be able to find me some decent news articles without too much help from my friends. Besides, I don't want to live in my friends' 'filter bubble'.

If I search for "AT91SAM9G20 datasheet", I doubt anyone in my immediate social graph has even seen what I'm looking for, let alone +1'd it.

If I search for "AT91SAM9G20 datasheet", I doubt anyone in my immediate social graph has even seen what I'm looking for, let alone +1'd it.

That's true, but then how many competing documents are going to pop up? The social graph helps give precedence when their are many results.

The Libya example is interesting. If you want outside of your bubble there is no reason you couldn't reverse the order and try to see news that none of your friends have seen (or at least +1ed).

Is it me or does Zuckerberg really excel at being boring? I guess I don't watch many CEOs announce new products but that was painfully boring and pedantic.

His voice is a bit whiny, and that isn't helping. But I think it's also the slide-show based presentation. And the repeatedly talking about how awesome his partners and employees are. We get it. We didn't come here for that. We want to be shown the exciting features.

I understand fully his motives, drum up support and excitement about his IPO, but no matter how hard he tries, he does not have Jobs charisma or skill. He should start getting it by reading Nancy Duarte's books on presentations.

You assume he wants it. He, and many other successful businessmen, are doing just fine without it.

I don't think it's Zuckerberg. It's just that what they launched today was lackluster and merely a response to G+.

Most just don't liveblog it. The only point of the presentation is so that a few journalists can feel more privileged over those who get press release saying the same thing.

What? This is their "awesome" announcement? Is this some sort of a joke? Even techies aren't going to be interested in this, let alone normal users...

Unfortunately, I think it flows the other way. "Normal" users will probably use it, and some techies may use it too just because their "normal" friends use it.

I think I will never use it because I almost dont use video chat (Hangout can change that) but I see my mother using it to talk with her sisters. She currently uses Skype, but using only Facebook will be much easier for her.

I think it's quiet interesting how quickly things change and how you see companies differently and google reinvented their image in such a short period of time.

If you asked me a year ago if I would say which was the cooler, younger, more innovative and most promising company - Google or Facebook - I would have said 4:0 Facebook for sure.

Now, I would say:

Cooler? I have a passion for design - so Google+ is by far winner here. In addition, you can say what you want, but with the invitation restriction they got what they wanted - buzzed.

Younger? When you compare the new design from Google to the Facebook design and consider the implementation of cutting edge web technology (advanced html5 etc.) - for sure it's google!

More innovative? Of course Facebook has a point for focusing the development of a framework in which other companies can build on - but on the other hand, that's by definition not much innovation by themselves - so google+!

Most promising? Only time can tell..

I don't know exactly why I see Google in a whole new light now.

Maybe it's because of their stunning design and UX (sorry for repeating, but it's gorgeous), maybe it's because of their underdog position with Google+ or maybe it's because Facebook with it's dry and subtle and boring design and it's cooperations with "uncool" players like microsoft is not taking risks anymore. They cannot risk their large userbase and got to stay mainstream. That could be the chance for Google+ to conquer, at least, the younger crowd.

Download and install a .jar file for Mac users? Yeah, my mom is gonna choose that over FaceTime ...

The video chat feature will ensure that my Facebook chat stays closed so random people don't pop up wanting to video chat.

Sorry, something went wrong.

We're working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.

I'm in the UK. Maybe it hasn't launched here yet?

I'm in the States

Meh. Nothing much to see here. This looks like Google Chat - video calling, group chat, seeing who you last spoke to.

For those drawing comparisons: Facebook has 500 million users. How many does Google+ have?

That's not even worth wasting time at answering. Look Google doing a great job of rebranding it's services. Google already had video chat for a while now. If you have gmail you have video chat. I don't get why facebook is just getting around to doing it. And google didn't need skype to do it.


GrandCentral was the voicemail service they purchased and has nothing to do with video chat.

Naah, GrandCentral became Google Voice. Totally different product.

On the order of 200 000. Mark Zuckerberg has 44871 followers on Google+, so there are clearly at least 44871 users, but probably not more than a few times that.

Yesterday, though, he had 35000 followers. That growth rate clearly can't continue; at that rate, + would overtake FB in another month or two, and the entire world population 5 days later.

Facebook actually has 750 million active users, according to the press conference today. They've also updated their Statistics page to reflect that; https://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics

Despite all of the hype about video chat and circles versus lists, to me the big announcement looks like group chat - which seems kind of stupidly obvious. Thinking about it, Google may have missed the mark by throwing video into the equation - unlike is the case with video, when people don't have to get dressed to be part of a discussion based on text. It almost looks like Google heard that Facebook was working on group features and video and assumed that they would be integrated.

I may be mistaken, but I think that's part of the idea with G+; you post an update to a specific circle and you basically have a chat with that circle.

[IHNBITG+] My understanding Circles aren't reciprocal, so I don't really see how circles could map onto group chat.

Gmail has had group chat for a long time. G+ has it on the mobile app, and really you could join a hangout and use the text chat feature for group chat as well (even without a mic/webcam). I'm not sure why the G+ in-browser gchat doesn't support group chat, but I would guess it probably will.

It does, it has a little "Add Person" button in chat windows. Same as Gmail does.

So it does. I have it signed out (I don't need my gchat's going to 4 different places), so I turned it on briefly and failed to notice that. Thanks for pointing that out!

OK, the question I have here is about monetization. Who will get more money from this deal - Facebook or Microsoft/Skype and how? Skype has not been profitable for so many years (although they charge for phone calls and have ads), and I don't see this moving it closer to the goal. Also, if FB allows group video-chat for free why would I pay Skype the subscription fee - I will just call from Facebook.

Skype has been profitable, I think.

No. Skype lost ~$7M last year and has close to $700M in debt. This was the biggest objection on the price MS paid to acquire it. See http://mashable.com/2011/05/10/microsoft-acquires-skype/

Looks like video chat is the hot new battleground again. Facebook Skype vs. video GChat vs. Apple FaceTime/iChat/iMessage vs. Microsoft Skype(?)

This actually has piqued my interest. I'll try to build a video chat app as my next quarterly app push. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

Microsoft Skype just partnered with Facebook .... and Twitter will use Apple FaceTime ...

They're forming tagteams? I wonder if any other partnerships will emerge.

I also said Microsoft Skype to distinguish it from FB- didn't know that FB and MS have been collaborating. But on second thought, it really is going to be Microsoft Skype from here on out. Or rather, 2012 Microsoft Skype Home Edition 7 with .NET Windows Live integration.

It should also be noted that Facebook chat works within Windows Live Messenger 2011 and you receive Facebook notifications (or birthday updates) from within Hotmail. So Microsoft has been working with Facebook for some time now.

Wait a second: what does Twitter even have to do with video conferencing?

And it looks like it's going to converge as a space race towards mobile video chat.

Let's just stop predicting things and see what happens. I guess everyone had enough Groupon, Bitcoin and G+ vs FB stories.


"Although I was the only full-time engineer on the video calling project, I had help from Paul Shen, Rahul Iyer, and Vijaye Raji."

That's ... strikingly familiar.

The comment stream is interesting, particulary because I've been seeing a lot of "google + hasn't made any impact outside tech circles" type comments around the place. People are looking at this just as Google would like them too.

What does this mean for all of the group chat companies that have launched recently?

Skype has just handed over their business just as AOL did with their search engine.

Well, so now we know why Google+ launched last week.

Doesn't look like they do group videochat?

Group chat is really, really important. But it's what we've always used Facebook for; it was just structured as "comment threads".

It's interesting.

The very first feature they show. Is the one that Skype implemented which a lot of people hated. Personally I think it's a great great feature. But it is a feature.

Does it mean that skype just got 750 million p2p node?

Finally, the monopoly is over. Long live competition!

Bringing Your Friends to Bing: Search Now More Social is one of the popular stories. I'm not sure if I trust that list of "popular stories"

Pretty unimpressive... Don't they have some of the greatest minds in the world working on this stuff?

What's the end game?

MS acquires fb?

Skype makes a killing off fb users for premium subscription and gives fb a cut?

MS can't/doesn't need to acquire facebook. they have a large stake in the company due to their early stage $270m investment. Facebook is too expensive at this point for MS to buy.

Stake ain't large. ~1.5%ish

My god, Mark really isn't that good at this CEO schtick is he.

quote from one commenter: "It sucks! Ask me to download an EXE , while I am in GNU/linux. It is shitty M$ stuff."

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