Meta shares drop 20% on Q4 earnings miss, weak outlook - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30185214 - Feb 2022 (436 comments)
Almost all activity online has shifted away from the Social Graph to a Content Graph. Almost nobody wants to see what their friends are doing online anymore. In a lot of ways it can be cringey. People just want the latest, catchiest content. TikTok and Youtube are the OGs here, but it's everywhere when you start to look. Twitter timeline changes being an awkward but working example. Discovery > Static friends list.
The entire premise FB was founded on is eroding. This isn't just Apple privacy and some regulatory strangulation. It's seismic to the business. The reason most people are still going to Facebook is incompatible with their primary activities online which is: consuming content from people-you-don't-know.
Facebook is where you find out your highschool friend is super in to a MLM, your uncle has drastic political views you don't share, and that your historical social class and network is largely irrelevant to your life a decade later.
They are doing everything they can to try to move in this direction, but the more they push it the less useful Facebook is for the average user. Instagram's discovery page is a prime example. But Reels are less good than TikTok, and whatever they are doing for short form video in Facebook is surely a hopeless game of catch up. This is classical innovator's dilemma.
The very idea that Zuckerberg straight up said they need to copy the competition harder is incomprehensible considering the resources they have.
They are going to try to do a few things. One is to anti-trust Apple (in the media at least), and the other is to hand wave (Metaverse).
The reason the Metaverse was such a non sequitur is that it is so clearly a last minute thrust coming out of the C-Suite. If you've ever worked at a highly visible tech pubco, you've seen this happen before. Weak quarters mean that product announcements get pushed up. When it is as all encompassing as the Metaverse announcement, you know something is up.
This is probably the most accurate description of Facebook I've seen.
"HEY IT'S ME your facebook friend from high school who never left our hometown & thinks Olive Garden is fancy. Anyway, here's a racist article."
It's funny because it's something many, many people identify with. A good chunk of Americans with the ability to do so leave small, provincial areas they grew up in for better opportunities in larger, more diverse cities. This leads to a pretty huge disconnect between them and those who, for whatever reason, stayed in their hometown.
It wasn't something that you noticed as much until Facebook exploded, and then everyone got re-connected with people from high school that, in some cases, you'd neither seen nor thought about in 20 years. And then the sort of post that prompted the joke happens, and you see it clearly.
And I assure you, as someone who grew up in and later left arguably the MOST racist state in the US south, the articles these archetypes are sharing are often quite explicit in their racism.
Many don't optimize their life their lives around "better opportunities" and "diverse cities". It sounds like you do, and good for you.
You DO realize that it's not at the expense of MERELY staying in a small, provincial, homogeneous place, right? It's ALSO continuing to embrace the blinkered worldview that growing up in such a place engenders. You need both for the joke to land.
You're reacting here as thought it's JUST about moving away (or not). It isn't.
I know educated, open-minded people who stayed in my hometown who have grown personally and intellectually and morally since youth. They stayed there for a handful of reasons, and some of them are as you state: an inability or unwillingness to be more than an hour from family, for example.
But I know of far more people who have not advanced in any meaningful way since they were 18 or 20. They often find the VERY IDEA of a world beyond the hometown to be fishy and untrustworthy. They are, uniformly, uncritical consumers of Fox News. They are the ones posting racist memes about, say, the Obamas, or proudly touting their COVID vax refusenik status.
This is who the joke is about.
The joke is not from a journalist.
The joke was copied widely when originally posted, and it wasn't clear to me who wrote it in the first place -- but if I was going to reference it here, I wanted to give proper credit.
I found a story in the WaPo about online joke plagiarism, and it used this joke as an example -- and cited musician Kevin Farzad as the original author. Based on this, I credited him in my comment accordingly.
Of course there is nothing wrong with thinking OG is fancy and so on. Better to avoid folks who make a big deal out of it IMO.
The stereotype is orthogonal to class.
Is this a slur for my kind?
Classical guitar teacher here. I'd never have been able to buy the house I'm writing this from on my salary if not for also prostituting myself in the it sector :-)
District attorneys don't necessarily get paid well, but they are pretty high up in local social class.
"largely irrelevant to your life a decade later."
hey, 2013 was about a decade ago, you nailed it
The original argument was that Facebook is failing to keep up with the times, hence why the back-home losers are still using it while you, the successful urban-dweller, have moved on.
Your argument that Facebook is “a pipeline to deliver brain poison” has a lot more value, even if only because it’s more objective.
The friend's perception of the poster would be "HEY IT'S ME your facebook friend from high school who went to New York and thinks is better than you. Anyway, here's a woke article."
I think it matters largely because I don’t believe that most people just want content. Everyone I speak with who uses FB on a daily basis has made the decision to excuse the habit purely because they are interested in keeping in touch with people. But by excusing that habit, they end up mostly consuming content because that’s what the feed gives them.
I left FB the day their “timeline” stopped supporting chronological sort.
the increasing hew and cry suggests that it actually is
When everyone is still actively building their friend list (remember this started for college students) its an amazing product because it brings you closer to people in a new way and allows for curation without investing a ton into AI/ML.
For people who stay in a static social bubbles for long times (e.g., your parents, your friends from HS who didn't move to a coastal city) it's also perfect, because they tend to value content related to their social group more than something new and interesting.
But for the highest value users (e.g., the ones with high-paying knowledge-based jobs and a willingness to try new things) the social graph will never keep up with their lives. Bad content from the edges of the graph will slowly creep into feeds (MLMs being a prime example) and those high-value users will seek out new platforms that conform better to their interests.
Instagram was a brilliant stop-gap, but Mark never saw the writing on the wall about algorithmic content (probably b/c Bytedance had the advantage of cutting its teeth in China first) and is just too far behind to ever really catch up.
So now he's trying to out-future Bytedance with VR (and even got them to burn $1bn on Pico), but unless he has some hard-tech rabbit to pull out of his hat, there's just not anything there.
We may very well be seeing the largest (negative) turn-around story in history since Yahoo! play out in front of our eyes.
They already have, and if the US Government would allow them to make another acquisition over $1bn, they already would have (I guarantee 5 different Biz Dev associates have made very long PowerPoints about Roblox and Rec Room only to be told the idea is DOA).
It's actually kind of amazing that Mark's off-putting personality and desire to remain the face of the company is what will kill it (let's just hope Aaron Sorkin stays alive long enough for the sequel, because it might rival Citizen Kane).
The value of ____ might be "seeing pictures of family", or it might be "coordination of/participation in a group that has settled on Facebook as the easiest path" (<-- this is me), or it might be "professionally necessary to be there" or a number of other things.
But none of these are positive reasons. There is no love of Facebook behind any of them. It's Facebook being tolerated. This is bad for Meta.
This is probably good for society at large, though. Or at least I hope it will be.
My neighborhood exclusively uses Facebook for neighborhood communication.
My kid's school PTA exclusively uses Facebook.
Most of the local food trucks only post their schedules on Facebook.
Since the pandemic started I have been taking the opportunity to go through my house and clean out lots of things that have just been hanging around for years. I list everything I sell on Facebook, Craigslist, OfferUp, and Nextdoor. I can’t remember the last time I got a bite from any of the other services that aren't Facebook. It’s been awhile.
It honestly drives me be crazy how this company has wormed their way into being such an essential piece of communication infrastructure for so many people that I can’t quit without sacrificing my ability to participate in some of the things I really enjoy.
So I begrudgingly tolerate Facebook.
>Most of the local food trucks only post their schedules on Facebook.
Oh, god, that's annoying. I've actually seen some businesses forgo a proper web site and instead JUST USE FB, which is crazy annoying.
Do people really participate in something like school PTA and eat often at food trucks?
I guess electronic platforms are more fragmented here in Europe. Google Maps owns business hours, various classified sites (such as Ebay's) own selling stuff locally. But everything might be different in each country really.
I think people have become more vary to post personal things online. I know very little parents that would be okay to publish pictures of their kids online (including on Facebook).
Yes, parents often participate in PTAs. Parent engagement is a big deal in education.
Yes, in many places in the US there are food trucks. People often enjoy them. Finding out where a given truck will be on Tuesday is useful!
Businesses generally keep Facebook pages in the US, usually as a supplement to a real web site, but also because Facebook has traditionally been where everyone is already.
* lost and found (including pets)
* HOA announcements
* changes to the trash pickup schedule, special trash collections, etc
* other events (Santa parade)
* new neighbor introductions
* recommendations (repairs, babysitting, dog sitting)
* free stuff or stuff for sale
* general advice on house construction (many houses are similar)
It’s not important per se, and not everyone is in the group. But it does come in handy.
I have a few Facebook friends that refuse to post pictures of their kids on Facebook. I also have a LOT of friends that post nothing but.
Would love some feedback on if you think it would help solve communications from:
1) PTA -> resident
2) Food Trucks -> nearby people
1) Remove the apps from your phone and log out on mobile browser, making each future login a concentrated intentional effort. (You can leave Messenger if that might be used for emergency contacts).
2) Use www version only.
3) Choose a time when you're going to sit by your home computer, and use social media for some pre-determined time slot, let's say 30 minutes.
The social networks are very good at serving this use case - showing most important content first, and relegating the junky stuff further down the feed. This way you won't miss any baby photos or wedding announcements, but will be spared from your uncle getting into a heated political discussion.
Only up to a point. I have actually missed wedding announcements because the announcement was pushed far down by more recent but less relevant news. Yes, if you use Facebook for 30 minutes a day, you probably won't miss anything. But if you use Facebook less often than that (like an hour a week, or once a month), you will absolutely miss relevant news because it'll be pushed down by whatever political shoutfest is currently drawing comments and reactions.
Which I'm sure is complete coincidence and not at all intended to draw you into using Facebook every second of every hour of every day
Is facebook trending in that direction? Seems like it.
Maybe too pessimistic.
I quit Facebook years ago and do not miss anything either, so maybe it's just me.
My son's daycare has a facebook page. It's very convenient to stay up to date on my own schedule without having to deal with emails. My pizzeria also has a facebook page. It's an easy way to look up hours or any updates. My gym has an instagram page to post their workouts and schedule. It's very convenient. The owners aren't very tech savvy so its easy for them. And its easy for me because the website isn't broken, gives me everything I need, lets me comment or reach out to the owners and is well indexed
It's like saying "I wouldn't use product if not for the value I get from the product".
They try to make you think they invented the wheel but really they’re just offering the same services as elsewhere under their umbrella.
I deleted it anyway. Deleting facebook didn't change my real world in anyway.
I think Facebook just got burned by not having a hardware platform this cycle - Apple and Google control the phones and Microsoft has the PC, XBox etc. They just want control over the next big hardware platform.
Whether that's a reasonable bet or not who knows? But I wouldn't be as dismissive of their ambitions in the space.
Perhaps I'm just an outlier, but it's the same with Twitter for me. I use it more these days than I did some years ago, but I also use it mostly like an RSS feed. I follow video game devs, musicians, etc. so I can be kept in the loop on the latest releases and whatnot.
I think you make a good point about content graph. I think there is some truth to that, although I have never really taken any interest in anything but the kind of content that YouTube offers.
I don’t mind the marketplace architecture, it’s quite nice actually. But Groups is the absolute worst place to house former forum content because it’s just not indexed well. There a few groups that I’m in that are managed really well, which gives them ~60% the utility of a tradition forum still.
What I’ve done on FB is aggressively unfollowed every single friend and page that I don’t care about. My feed is now strictly a feed of group posts from people I don’t know about my hobbies that I enjoy…it’s actually quite nice!
It's wild that FB has become such a highly valued company despite the fact that they have always been resting on rather shaky foundations.
We can also start to see Goodhart's Law in action at scale. Running your company by constantly optimizing for metrics (as so many startups mimic now) eventually does catch up to you. The vitriolic content that initially got them massive engagement eventually gets more and more people repulsed by the service.
In the end, just like MySpace and Friendster, there is nothing that really prevents users from exiting from the platform extremely fast once the tide of the network effect turns the other way.
I think it started a slow bleed when they removed the chronological view. After that it became “evil” and not about social connection anymore. No longer was my post being seen by my friends unless the algo thought it was saucy enough. It was a great business but I dont think you’ll ever get the people who are fed up to come back.
I believe the reason Instagram, Snapchat, and now TikTok grew the way they did was because the parents weren't on those apps. Even now we see that young people migrate to other platforms as their parents start paying attention to the current one.
I don’t want to buy the next card game booster pack in any way or form. I don’t care about theme parks I’ve never heard of, or the new game that lets me save a half naked hottie. And for that matter I also won’t change for a new car insurance.
Now, someone in my life pushing for the formers might force my hand.
Coincidentally the profiling is also extremely useful for political leverage and behaviour mod. I'm sure that never occurred to anyone around the company, and the links to operations like AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica are incidental among the ad noise.
The incoming anti-trust cases are going to be interesting.
FB, as a social platform, is moving away from being a social app. Same thing happened to other social apps. The original utility they had in the early days was subsumed by social, which is now being subsumed by something else. The original utility can't be found anywhere... it was dragged down into the depths and drowned.
In some ways, my iPhone now is less useful to me than it was before. I can look things up in the moment, but in terms of connecting me to my past activities -- not so much.
There are mountains of quality information online and while I would absolutely resent having to grow up in the age of social media, the kids are way better at parsing and questioning rapid onslaughts of information because of the tribulations there.
They get caught up for a while, but the guise wears away. Young people can easily see outside their immediate world, and any adopted worldview, unlike we've ever known. When I was growing up that meant a lonely kid wandering down to the library to flip through magazines from the big city to inject some new ideas into one's world. Now, young people from anywhere can dig into the most arcane of information and worldviews in seconds and begin integrating them earlier on in their lives.
The world will look very different in outlook in a short amount of time, and it will not be for the sake of "content". Just gimme some truth, all I want is some truth.
Unlike high attention media with placement and interstitial opportunities, Marketplace and Groups are not great business models.
Why do they have to be non-religious?
Fact. I unfollowed pretty much every person connected to me on facebook, and now my feed consists primarily of posts from 'This cat is C H O N K Y', 'Foods with threatening auras,' and the like. Huge quality of life improvement, second only to basically never using Facebook at all.
I mean to say that a change of editorial policy in a given media outlet is often related to a change of political direction; is that the case?
Funny aspect: big tech wants to obtan some real influence and weight in society, so they introduce more censorship as a means of obtaining this weight. Now incidentially this erodes their base, as their clients loose interest in the toy, and start to use something else instead.
Acquisitions are a critical instrument for large corporations in terms of competition. TikTok's parent, ByteDance, is not restricted by such problems despite how massive they are, for example.
ByteDance is a $400 billion market cap company that doesn't have to play the game the same way Facebook does despite the fact that they're clearly competing in the same tier of scale now.
And that's not a statement of woe-is-Facebook, nobody should feel bad for Facebook, it's just the fact of the real context they're stuck with and their giant competitor is not.
Don’t forget the US came perilously close to banning TikTok last year. As much as Facebook probably doesn’t have the US government on their side, it’s more on their side that TikTok’s.
That doesn’t seem that eerie to me. Your partner is most likely logging in from the same IP, and perhaps your mother-in-law has done the same at least once, or is friended to your partner. Making this association is pretty straightforward
What does 'hand wave' mean in this context?
You know, like your on-demand TV channel that knows what you want, already.
User growth in the US may be flat but earnings per US/CA active user is up which implies that the value is here and growing for users in the US/CA
Zuckerberg got lucky and then executed brilliantly, transitioned from nerd hacker to CEO amazingly well. He deserves a lot of credit for that.
Since then, Facebook have innovated very little. Zuckerberg recognised this, and bought Instagram and Whatsapp in lieu of building an innovative company. The latter is clearly really difficult to do.
Without a stream of new ideas and products (unlike, say, Apple) Facebook double-downed on maximising revenue growth from their core advertising business. This led to all the scandals and disasters they have brought us, including destabilising societies.
Inevitably, this led to the core product becoming less attractive, and people were also turned off by the negative press. Zuckerberg's rigid control of the company has led to him being a lightening rod for the backlash against big tech and especially adtech. His media skills are awful, so insisting on control and making himself a figurehead has further damaged the business.
Zuckerberg knows the only way out is another home run. He's a super smart and prescient thinker, so he can see VR is a good play. It looks like the timeline for VR won't be short enough to save FB, but even if it were arriving soon enough he must know that FB probably isn't capable of delivering a truly new thing.
This then marks the beginning of the end for the company, as it continues to bring in revenue from Instagram and monetises Whatsapp. Its sheer size means decline is going to take decades.
I wouldn't be surprised if Zuckerberg leaves in the next few years, before the failure of Meta strategy becomes apparent.
What they _should_ have done is debatable, but developing some sense of ethics might have helped. I think they could have focused on building Whatsapp into a payments (etc) app, which would have created an enduring product, and then used the time that bought them to rebuild the company.
Microsoft are showing that it can be done, but I wonder if Facebook has the capacity to do great things. Perhaps the lesson from MS is that only a new leader can rescue such a mired company.
FB have never built a successful product besides Zuck's original. They have never created a good business besides the FB and program. They pushed both to the max.
FB pushed the walled garden hard. They pushed hard on acquiring the competition. They pushed hard on making the product "addictive" and optimising it on a "what FB wants from users" basis.
In its ad business FB pushed hard on leveraging data. Google's AdWords was always based on user intent. Someone searches for "divorce lawyer," and AdWords finds them a divorce lawyer. FB ads are premised on targeting, not intent. So... leverage data to create a segment with >n chance of wanting a divorce lawyer. It worked.
That's FB in a nutshell. They push hard on simple things.
What they need is something else to push on. I agree on making WhatsApp a payments app. IMO, retail finance would suit FB perfectly. They'd be better at it than Apple or Google. Look at retail banks, like Citi. It's all about pushing for revenue. Some newly invented fee that most customers don't know they're paying. Some new way of charging both sides of a transaction. More of something. Generating revenue from customer data, float, 3rd party deals... taking advantage of moat. FB would be really good at that.
Controlling the VR metaverse... I just don't see it. Too much innovation. Too much invention. Too many elements to balance. Too avante garde. It's not Zuck.
Remember FB can always purchase themselves into the market - pick up a few startups and bodge together a consistent product.
I think the problem is that VR tech and apps will take too long to arrive to gain any traction with the wider public, before FB needs it. FB needs hundreds of millions/billions of users, VR hasn't punched out of the 'early adopter'/gamer market yet and even those were balking at having to have FB accounts.
The Index isn’t perfect, but the actual story of Oculus is just them making a cruddy MVP, Valve taking the time to show their far superior prototypes, and allowing them to copy them, and then Oculus and part of the Valve team selling out to Facebook (ie Michael Abrash). Virtually all the innovation in VR was made by Valve, the only innovation Facebook has added is inside out tracking.
So Oculus is really just another Instagram /WhatsApp - they purchased a solid team and product, but they’re not out innovating even smaller players in the field.
It's hard for me to hear your argument when you don't address the most obvious criticism.
Plus the cable tethers and the need to bolt and wire up the IR lighthouses to your livingroom walls vs the Quest that you can slide into your backpack and take with you and play virtually anywhere indoors.
The simplicity, polish and ease of use of the Quest and its ecosystem really killed the tethered VR future regardless of much more high-end the hardware was, just how the iPhone simplicity and UX polish killed the Nokia and Blackberry power-houses.
You are criticizing them for a industry standard practice. Make loss on the console, make it up with the software. With what they are doing with the Steam Deck it seems like they have learned a lesson about trying to make a profit on the hardware from their VR efforts.
But Valve has Alyx. Oculus tried to have a Mario in Lucky’s Tale, and Lucky is a super cute and appealing character, but gaming is older now. I had to look up the name of Lucky’s Tale to remember. Alyx has WAY more mindshare imho.
I wasn’t looking so much at cost as much as capability to innovate.
The manufacturing cost for the Oculus has to be far less than the Index since Valve reportedly isn't making much off their headsets. For argument if we say Meta's costs are $400/headset and Valve $900/headset, that still makes the Index over twice as expensive and it still can't run anything without being tethered to an expensive PC!
I don't know how you could seriously try to argue that kind of price undercutting isn't "innovating".
I'm hopeing that Apple, Valve and hopefully totally new players can enter the VR/AR market and make better products than FB without selling out to them. My only realistic hope for a competitor to Quest 2 is Apple at the moment.
They'll make great hardware but the price will keep it in the "well off consumer" range. Good for Apple because that's where the profits are but it won't make VR mainstream.
For VR, I wouldn't be suprised if a lot of people would be ready to pay a premium just to have device that has feature-parity with the Quest 2 but is not owned by Facebook. You have to understand that so many people use the Quest 2, despite the fact that they hate Facebook (yours truly included).
I doubt people are willing to pay that much more just to avoid facebook (especially considering facebook is decoupling their logins again from the quest services).
With current inflation rates (The EU is printing money by the billions per day) I do see a big gap in American (especially Silicon Valley) purchasing power and here in Western Europe. Whereas a few years ago I'd see only flagship phones in public transport, now it's a ton of redmi, budget samsungs etc. People don't have a lot of money anymore.
Yes, for sure. And I think that's a part of the reason they haven't released a VR headset yet. Give it a few years (maybe 5?) and there will be enough entertainment value and other utlity from a headset, especially if the ergonomics get better, which they will.
There's a huge difference between selling a phone which is a status symbol and a VR set that has to have actual utility (entertainment, etc).
People pay more for iPhones even in Africa because it's a status symbol - only the rich can afford them.
Apple's VR doesn't have to compete with the Quest on price if their product is that much better. Which, hey - it's Apple. They might be able to pull that off.
In every other region not so much. Here in Western Europe they are far from market leading, though still able to be considered 'mainstream'. But due to the inflation and lack of salary increases here since the 2007 crisis, most people go for midrangers now, and the iPhone SE is not attractive at all (old design, no oled screen). Just looking around on the subway I would see nothing but cheap Chinese phones now, most of the iPhones are from tourists.
I'm bullish on Oculus since I think they'll get the software and exclusives right (also I have one and I'm impressed by it) but I don't think Apple being an upmarket brand is going to slow them down at all.
Tthe first iPhone cost $499, and they even dropped the price of the $599 iPhone after a few months to $399, in a pretty unprecedented move by Apple. The price was clearly too high for a market that had not yet proven its value. VR is in the same situation as the modern smartphone was back then.
Carmack has also left Oculus, hasn’t he?
Valve's stuff isnt really superior for most users for what you get for your price point. There price point for entry is TEN TIMES what Occulus is, and I've used both headsets. Yes Valve is better. It's NOT 10x better. Maybe not even 2x better. And if you want to play Half Life Alyx, the cheapest way to do that is to buy an Occulus and hook it up to your computer. Valve has effectively put themselves in the luxury sports car lane when it comes to VR.
Occulus and Sony's VR for Playstation seems to be the actual entry points for most people when it comes to VR. And Valve isnt even really positioning themselves as a competitor to Occulus sense Steam VR has Occulus support. They seem to be fine wiht letting Occulus be the entry point sku and Steam VR being what people do when they go further down the ecosystem of what is currently the VR niche hobby.
You seem to know what you're talking about but it's really hard to take it seriously when you misspell the company's name.
That hasn't been true for a long while. Having a room-scale VR system back in 2016 certainly made Valve look quite a bit ahead of Oculus's "Rift is a sitting experience, have an Xbox controller" disaster.
But these days Oculus is far ahead, they are constantly adding new features (AR, hand tracking, wireless, standalone, 2D app integration, etc), while SteamVR is still mostly the same as it was back in 2016. At the moment SteamVR is barely even usable and full of bugs (resolution and input settings regularly disappear).
That's not to say that Oculus is the only one innovating, Microsoft's WMR Portal was a great attempt at bringing the Desktop into VR and they were the first ones with 6DOF tracking in a standalone headset. Some of the AR pass-through stuff, that Quest2 has just added, could be done on Daydream years ago.
But Daydream is dead, WMR seems to be on life support and SteamVR isn't getting any improvements either, all while Facebook went full throttle and is pumping out new VR features every few months. The only one that might have a chance at competing with Facebook's VR effort at this point is Sony with PSVR2 and maybe Apple, but their VR doesn't seem to not be aiming at the mass market.
. I don’t see a lot of apps using many of these features at all.
. I don’t think VR will ever win the consumer space. I’ve been working on it for half a decade now, and I don’t know anyone who regularly uses their headset for entertainment. Party trick? Sure. Everyday use to watch a Vr film or play a VR game? Not really. I own a headset myself and I barely use it.
VR is a productivity and industrial tool, that’s where the true user adoption is. FB is fundamentally misdirected, and the sooner people get that the sooner they’ll realise there’s nothing there at the end of the rainbow for Zuck.
They've got enough people working on this I don't see how they can't work on gaming and work at the same time.
Microsoft was first to this in the consumer space with WMR
If anything is going to come of this it's going to be AR, without a doubt. People want to be able to see the world they are in, they don't want to walk into tables, have to disrobe to answer the door, tend to children and so on.
AR adds value everywhere in the real world. AR can blend meetings, add meta information to day-to-day tasks. Think driving, you can now have your maps, speed, collision warnings, and so on in a virtual heads up display.
Even if Meta knocks it out of the park with early AR it's going to be a long time coming and they will still have a trust issue that younger, faster AR startups won't have.
AR is the space I'm least excited for. The more we push AR the sooner we will have ads in our face everywhere we go.
Yup. AR = Awful Reality.
But I disagree that VR is anti-social, it is not exactly the same as being irl social, but the success of VRChat (a social VR platform) and Zenith (the first good VR MMO) has shown how big the social aspect is.
Social VR easily showed its use during the pandemic and the lockdowns.
However, social VR is also immensely useful for more introverted people, which more extroverted people might not realize. It is quite simply easier talking to people in VR than it is in real life. It is good therapy if you want to view it like that.
I think you're confusing introversion with social anxiety.
Provided that it happens at all. People tend to extrapolate too far based on something being subjectively attractive for a limited group. Think of 3D TV hype a decade ago (and we're thinking of technology that actually debuted almost 100 years ago).
It's been like what, 3 years? that I've been patiently waiting for the UE (or someone, in general) to mandate Facebook to remove mandatory account signup and tie-in, before buying an Oculus Quest (now 2). I don't care if this means I end up not buying and enjoying it at all in the end.
Sadly I guess just a minority have such firm positions when it comes to "vote with your wallet", so in the end the vote ends up being nothing more than a self-imposed punishment. But thankfully VR is just a very superfluous experience for now to be missing it, so I am fine with that.
I'm sure many of the supporters of other independent VR hardware project (such as Simula VR) are of the same opinion.
This will both scare off potential acquisitions and slow things down a lot, enabling others time to make better plays.
Even if they choose all the right targets it will still be hard.
VR games are generally casual / active. Not playable in most apartments due to space needed. Most gamers are into either shooters, dark souls style games, or moba-style games. And action/rpg - which is great in VR, but there are also only a couple of them.
Metaverse? Live in VR? Why? You can live in real life. People have other things to worry about.
People are also glued to phones. Children are making TikTok videos. My point is that people do interact online. The issue with VR is fidelity. It just doesn’t live up to what people imagined yet. Compare what we have to TV series like “Upload” from Amazon.
Anyone who wants to play chess or poker online most likely already has without VR. Sitting across a virtual table with a virtual person with an annoying headset on to play chess or poker online is practically a downgrade from what we have now. It is a one off parlor trick.
these are incongruent.
> Who would engage in any kind of personal interaction with that?
tons of people do regularly. see https://playtracker.net/insight/game/2704
do note: not all vrchat users use VR everytime. but still the numbers arent insignificant.
not to mention disabled people who cant participate in society as well as the average person, may want to experience a world where they can walk, go to the theater with their friends or swing around like spiderman.
as for fun games in vr? try
pavlovVR, into the radius, until you fall, beat saber, legendary tales...
Racing sims especially. Many popular racing sims have great VR support, and a lot of them have very detailed textures (compared to the average VR game). Combine that with a good wheel and a structurally solid rig, and you really feel like you're driving an actual race car.
The downside is that it does take up significant space and requires extra hardware (wheel, pedals, rig, etc.), which is a dealbreaker for many (me included at the moment).
With a physical wheel then just simulating vision makes it true virtual reality for car driving.
Almost nothing else is like this though. Virtual reality swimming I think is the best example of why VR sucks in the general sense. The visual aspect is just a small aspect of the experience of swimming. We can't simulate any other aspect of it with VR goggles.
Simulating most real life experience is much closer to the problem of swimming than the problem of driving a car.
I've had some basic exercise and lots of fun with "Until You Fall" on the Index.
Maybe in places like Tokyo or Hong-Kong as even in my small European apartment, I could find the 2x2m space needed for VR.
Decent VR experiences require space. Room scale requires, well, pretty much a whole room to play it in. A room free from obstacles. An entire empty room just to play a game. I have one such room, and several times I've found that games still insist on placing objects outside the designated walkable area. Most people do not have an entire room to dedicate to VR.
And most VR experiences really aren't worth it. They're largely novelties rather than something you want to interact with every day. The only exception I've experienced so far is Beat Saber, but even that with it's minimal around-the-room movement frequently has to throw up the guardian because I swung my fist too close to a wall.
If I want to play a game on my PC I just double click the icon and I can start playing.
If I want to play a game on my VR headset I need to move furniture to make space, then I need to unbox the headset, I need to put it on and take 3 min to adjust it because my girlfriend is the last one that used it, then I need to define the space available in the room, and then finally I can enjoy a 720p game, interrupted by the red walls of the guardian when I get too close to the limit of the space I defined. Then I'll need to move back the furniture and everything...
The reason I barely play VR is because it's a chore to setup and I'll have to spend at least 15 min before being in an actual game.
This has been a brake to economies of scale applied across the industry, so the existing players can put their logistic efforts in to keeping up their supply of existing products at the same price as they launched, which is enough to start competitive. Without the shortage, I expect we would have seen many more and cheaper Oculus Quests being sold.
For a point of reference, see purchasing the Valve Index, which last I saw if you buy from valve has a lead time of at least a month, despite launching in 2019.
The way I see it, this is the biggest thing they need to turn around. To a point where they might need to launch a product - or maybe a paid tier - that is somewhat separate from what the FB experience has become.
What users want from FB needs to be explored on multiple levels. Ability to sort posts chronologically between a subset of your network, 'suggested' connections you can filter by relevance to a subset of your interests, customizable local community participation alerts... there are all kinds of ways of exploring vast social networks that can actually benefit society.
I strongly feel that prioritizing content which gets people riled so you can feed them more ads is such a massive negative, showing a willingness to change something so terrible yet fundamental to their current revenue would be the most significant thing they could do. It probably won't happen, but despite my increasing pessimism I still like to imagine better possibilities.
It's pretty resilient.
FB? Like others have said, the social media FB itself is pretty weak, and like you also said - addiction, and walled garden are the locks in. It can only grow financially by (more) acquisitions.
Also, FB bought Oculus. It has grown since, but most of where they are is on trajectory from the purchase. Meanwhile, VR as a whole is neither a big not profitable market. The competition are also a bunch of upstart-ey businesses/divisions limited by investor generosity.
Zuck makes good acquisitions, no doubt about that, but Oculus isn't an Xbox yet.
Xbox, OTOH, is proof that Microsoft could enter a completely different market, compete, win and create a whole new business division. It was already a mature market.
I'm shocked it's that high, but, honestly, for an early effort, that's pretty competitive. If I'm reading Microsoft's 2005 annual report right, Home & Entertainment revenue was $3bn in 2005.
I still don't think VR is going to supplant console gaming, but console gaming is a big business--Xbox-level revenue would be a 15% increase in total revenue for Meta.
I also don't think Zuck's stated aspirations are a +15% boost in revenue by becoming a successful competitor in the gaming market, which is why it's so easy to criticize the insanely overstated goals of the "metaverse."
I'm curious: do you have any awareness of the fact that there are very unethical actions suggested in what you are discussing here casually?
And was never. The Personal-Computer is an original product of International Business Machines (IBM) and not Microsoft. Contrary to most products shipped today it's architecture is open for industry standards and other companies. A huge success for IBM.
Microsoft shipped the pre-installed and required operating-system. You can order desktops and laptops without an operating-sytem or Linux from Lenovo (former IBM), Dell, System76, Purism, Tuxedo and many more. Vendors which aim for cheap distribution to private customers usually only ship Personal Computers with Windows. Most of these are crap and come with questionable pre-installed software - and I don't refer to Windows.
That IBM sold the PC subsidiary was the worst mistake the could ever have done, both Apple and Lenovo show how much money you can earn with long lasting high quality products. IBM lost the contact point to many customers. They need to succeed with Red Hat now. Irony, IBM use and prefer (again) ThinkPads, preinstalled with Linux.
If you say "it runs on PC" you're actually saying your software is compatible to an Intel 286 CPU or higher. Well, if it is portable?
Technically, yes, that is correct, however, looking at the over 90% marketshare Windows has on the IBM/PC space, Windows is pretty much the synonym for the PC OS. Most laptops and PC's sold with an OS by retailers or OEMs, are shipped with Windows by default. It's basically a monopoly.
Sure, on tech boards like this one the proportion of people running some GNU/Linux based OS on their PC is much higher than the statistics, but the average joe consumer is 99% surely gonna have Windows on their PC which is where the assumption that "PC automatically equals Windows by default" comes from.
Yes. The mass market works (thinks) like that. Like you said, we're here on a tech board and therefore I refer to the actual definitions. Depends on situation when correct terms must be used or not.
When people say "PC" as in "PC or Mac?" they do mean computers running Microsoft windows
That was years and years after they had already committed "the worst mistake they could have done", which was not buying Microsoft early on when they had the chance. This should be immediately obvious, as you're here complaining about people confusing Windows with PCs. After that, their failure to secure exclusive rights to Intel's x86 chips, their inability to keep up with all the clones on the market, and the missteps of the PCjr and OS/2, the eventual sell off the PC hardware business was inevitable.
That would likely have led to closing down the clones, not allowing others to use DOS, they would have became an also-ran.
I can't remember if they actually did this or were just trying to but I recall they wanted Intel and AMD to charge a license fee for every processor they sold.
> IBM use and prefer (again) ThinkPads, preinstalled with Linux.
Citation required. They had ~300K apple devices several years ago.
A huge success for users because it created the clone market. IBM was never a big player in the PC market after the clones came out.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean here, if I buy, say, a Dell computer with Linux pre-installed then I don't think MS gets a cut? They don't own the PC platform.
Or maybe you mean that most prebuilt PCs come with some OEM Windows license even if you don't intend to use is, which is fair enough I suppose.
Not that it really matters for desktop PCs where Windows is king anyway. Although from personal experience I'd argue that the "essential product" these days is less Windows itself than the Office suite which is still the gold standard in many institutions.
(That said, ChromeOS still makes up a much smaller percentage of active installations, as Google don't have the legacy hardware base that Apple and Microsoft do)
You could argue that kindle is a computer too, but it doesn't really matter either way.
I disagree. Apple tried this in the 1980's in the U.S. It was a disaster, no one bought Apple computers for home use and the company almost went under. Apple didn't come back to life until they came out with the iPod. It didn't hurt that they later got a booster when MS released the sh*tshow know as windows 8.
For everybody that I know who owns one, it's their primary machine.
Remember that you can run Docker natively on a Chromebook and you need a VM on both windows and Mac
As a subjective observation I've seen quite a lot of ads for those giveaways.
I can certainly see the criticisms mounting, if FB go financial. But, I also recall the many times FB withstood criticism. Criticism from users over product changes. Experts on privacy. Journalists and politicians on social issues and user manipulation. They persevere, and rarely have to give an inch.
OTOH, I think FB is the world leader in gaining leverage from customer data. Their ad business is more based on targeting data than Google's. It could conceivably even survive the demise of FB itself. Finding partners to run ads is doable, and with fb's targeting that still could ad up to major and business.
So perhaps they're not great at securing customer data, though they are probably more as technically capable than most banks. But, they are the very best at leveraging and monetising customer data.
Call it a high risk, high reward investment.
FB has the most targeting-centric ad business by far. In dollar terms, I can't think of anyone earning as much from customer data as FB.
Can we argue the same point for Google?
Considering their dominant position in digital ads, I wonder what this implies.
> He's a super smart and prescient thinker, so he can see VR is a good play
He made a school yearbook on the internet and copied some features from existing social networks like MySpace. Facebook was just in the right place at the right time and executed well.
The jury is very much still out on whether "VR is a good play", too. It might turn out to be a gigantic over-marketed gimmick like blockchain has.
I think you're wrong in saying there's a limit when it comes to AR.
Our smartphones are AR devices, a poorly interfaced cybernetic extension. It's a cumbersome device yet unimaginably successful.
This poor AR device has constraints that will always hamper it. It must be of a certain size to display anything useful/readable and to be a useful touch-operated device.
If people put up with this poor device and it's slow information delivery, due to the poor human-computer interface, then they sure as hell will put up with AR devices of the future.
This new wave of AR need not have near as hampering constraints.
AR has the potential to be more successful than the modern smartphone when products are as uncumbersome, lightweight and comfortable to wear as regular glasses/sunglasses, while having the technical specs to augment reality with razor sharp and useful 2D and 3D overlays, and sound.
I see no reason people will be more reluctant to put on a pair of sunglasses than carry an iPhone in their pocket or purse.
Then there are other AR product forms, like contact lenses.
AR has a wide host of useful applications, both civilian, social (recreational), military, engineering, medicine, etc. That's not the future, for most of these branches it is already in great use. There's a ton of R&D going on in this space.
This seems far-fetched to me.
Mojo (https://spectrum.ieee.org/ar-in-a-contact-lens-its-the-real-...) claims to be on track for this, but:
- their "working demo" is apparently not actually wearable
- it has no built-in battery -- if I have to wear an inductive charger around my eye, I may as well wear smart glasses, right?
- the whole thing has a bit of a Theranos feel about it
Surely the fact that this is exactly what happened with earlier product releases must count as a reason... And come on, AR contact lenses? In what century exactly? If you think that's what's going to rescue Meta, I've got some FB I'd like to (short) sell you.
I agree. I disagree however that VR is already here. It isn’t, not even close. And it will keep getting further away as we push for higher resolution and higher frame rate displays.
I think there needs to be some way to power this thing all day long. Maybe Apple was onto something with its Apple Watch strategy. Create a minimally viable product and only introduce new features very slowly so you can still claim all day battery life in a happy path. Tl;dr I don’t think the limiting factor is VR itself but rather how do we power it. I don’t want something on my head that I have to charge every fifteen minutes.
It's an interesting thing to say because, one of the pending killer apps for VR is liberating us from our clunky rectangular meatworld screens that can't travel with us. It's still too low resolution now in affordable hardware, but it's at a tipping point and it is going to be quite exciting to see it cross that. I wouldn't rule out that in 5 years from now, a sizeable percentage of the professional computing workforce is using VR just for this reason alone.
I am never wearing a VR headset all day to save space. The day this rolls out I am asking for an exception for real monitors.
I honestly don't think this is ever going to happen though. Everyone is just caught up in this hype cycle.
The VR office is probably going to be open concept, like a bunch or chairs in a room.
VR shuts you off from the world, and only permits you to interact with people digitally. My view is this is only ever going to be a niche play for gaming and some commerce (e.g architecture, game design).
AR on the other hand at its most minimal is a set of specs, and you only seeing reality. Nothing has to be always on, as someone who wears glasses this is my current world. Now introduce the ability to insert virtual objects (e.g a virtual computer screen) and my world is a little bit better. Wire it together so people can share the augment, and possibilities become limitless.
Alastair Reynolds wrote a good series of books (Blue Remembered Earth) where AR was envisioned rather extensively and it was compelling. As such I view AR as the future of all computing and the market correspondingly huge.
If they are betting the company on VR and a "metaverse" then maybe they have reached a cap on unique users already and the growth of FB is done.
Not everything has to be a household name to be considered a success. Second life is very niche and very successful.
No. I remember TV companies pushing it since it was cheap for them to include and they hoped people would think of it as the "Next Big Thing", but consumers and especially reviewers during the aughts saw right through it.
Even in the 90's I remember it being seen as a short-lived novelty more than anything: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1997-05-02-970502...
Regardless what you think of VR I think there are clearly far more bulls than 3D TV ever had.
My Quest 2 doesn't give me motion sickness at all but I am susceptible to motion sickness when someone is driving/flying or on a boat. Still, two very distinct things that make a very different statistic.
It seems probable that motion sickness in VR will be less of a problem in the future as technology and techniques improve. Most people seem to be able to cope with it at the current level.
I’d say getting around has more utility than being in the metaverse.
While the image quality and frame rate have improved, there are still fundamental limitations on the technology. One common pushback is that some people will get headaches due to scanning the scene, trying to focus on objects at their false depths.
3D film is a pain, way more than double the work. So most 3D content actually was made 3D in post rather than filming with multiple cameras.
Still, the way you would frame a scene to be 'interesting' in 3D is different from how you would do so in 2D. This usually results in being able to 'tell' whether a movie you are watching was primarily made for one market or another.
VR adds something other than image quality - it adds the ability to be immersed in the content. However you still have the same issues:
- So far, we don't have consumer headsets that enable you to actually focus on the objects in the scene. For example, you can't hold a piece of paper up to your face to read the fine print.
- Trying to capture certain kinds of media is infeasibly expensive in VR, both from a post-production cost perspective and a data size expectation. Live action basically is too difficult.
The latest incarnation of 3D movies were in a sense a clever business maneuver - it created a premium tier of movie experience and got many theaters to start upgrading their older projection equipment and screens to newer digital alternatives.
For home use, 3D movies were weird because they didn't follow the traditional hype curve. A lot of early adoption was by families, where unfortunately the shutter glasses still tended to be too expensive for young hands. But that market has the same thing - manufacturers will eventually take technology and reduce it down to cost, so how can you compel people to buy the newest fancy screen where you still have a good margin?
Note several television manufacturers are now trying to proceed advertising and sales revenue, which is why smart TVs have now taken over - a 15-30% cut on a HBO Max subscription adds up to real money quickly over their typically poor margins on the sale of the set.
If the Metaverse means I can watch hatespeech + antivaxx posts, pictures of peoples lunch on a 3D canvas or cat videos, I pass.
I can confirm that it was.
So has VR a couple of times in the history of computer based entertainment, so the analogy hold IMO.
> VR adds something other than image quality - it adds the ability to be immersed in the content
Exactly. And it needs content that is noticeably improved by VR without obvious disadvantages, and there have been few examples of where the benefit has been enough to counter the faf. I've played a bit of Elite with an expensive VR setup and it was great but that doesn't hit the movement issue as being sat in a fixed place matches the immersion requirement of the largest part of the game (being sat in a cockpit), and I'm told Half-Life: Alyx is good enough that the constraints imposed by VR don't impact the immersion enough to break it. But those are the only two examples I can cite: you need people like me (a techie who doesn't game much at all these days despite doing so a lot a decade or two ago) and the less techie public to be able to identify more than two or three great examples for the product to have any hope of being more than niche. This isn't just a technology gap (between what we can do now and what people see on TV with things like the holodeck) but also an issue of making suitable content good enough is more difficult to get right.
Having said that, I’m also skeptical of the whole metaverse thing, as we had that stuff a long time ago already (Second Life) and it was a flop. VR needs to become extremely ubiquitous and hassle-free for such a thing to work.
A flop? I remember watching a documentary a while back saying some people were totally addicted to it. I'm not sure if they're still afloat these days, though. Might go the way of Playstation Home (which I genuinely liked!).
not necessarily a good thing
Metaverse is not a utopia but a dystopia!
Blockchain is IMO in a much much much more questionable state of relevancy and usefulness than VR.
I workout in VR (supplemental workouts by playing Eleven Table Tennis to the max).
I boardgame in VR (Demeo).
My GF picks up my headset and plays Beatsaber.
You can have multiple screens in VR. While I'm not the biggest fan of them, I will be if I'd travel to another country, not being able to bring my monitors.
Oh, and I've convinced quite a few of my friends to do the same (workout, gaming, productivity).
VR is already here mate. People game, people exercise, people get new experiences by watching VR videos (I got better at skiing because of it), people are using its productivity apps to design stuff (think about designing game in Unreal Engine using VR). There are certain use-cases in which VR outperforms anything else (and in most use-cases it doesn't).
VR has tons of uses!
It's not perfect by any means, but we're slowly getting there. 4000x4000 per eye is the hallmark I will be patiently waiting for. Better omni-directional threadmills are something I will hope for. We already are beginning to have haptic feedback suits from owo. I'm not a fan of haptic feedback suits, but others are.
VR is here to stay. It won't replace anything, it will augment how we are going about our daily stuff.
Whereas with blockchain, well, it's mostly used for speculation and I still haven't seen people use it as a legitimate currency. And this includes myself! Like, I used bitcoin to buy a bitcoin wallet, but does that count? I don't think so. The current use of blockchain in terms of cryptocurrencies is speculation (at the moment) and I am hoping it will change, but I wonder if it ever will. And I am a fan of the whole thing, but let's not kid ourselves. I hope the unbanked will use it. I hope people in super high inflationary countries will use it (because as volatile is bitcoin is, it beats any currency with hyper inflation). Unfortunately, I don't have any insights on the unbanked.
This is the problem with VR. It started the adoption process the wrong way - instead of positioning itself as a work enabling tool that you buy for a killer feature - it's just a gimmicky toy that has reasonable stigma around it among normal people (non-techies).
If your phone was just a 1000$ gaming handheld it would be a niche product, at best something like a 3DS. But gaming is the biggest market on phones.
Likewise if VR ever wanted to get mainstream adoption it needed to have a killer feature like enabling ultra portable/productive workspaces. Imagine everyone working from home buying a 500$ VR headset for remote work - totally reasonable - in the price range of a monitor. And then you have a huge market for games when the people are used to it. Now it's just a nerdy gimmick.
The way I see VR right now is a niche version of a gaming console with high barriers to entry and bad image. Gaming consoles took decades to get widespread adoption.
I'd claim that VR will be niche until it becomes AR. When I can see my keyboard and get multiple floaty screens,that will be productivity.
Pokemon Go in AR? Skyrim AR? AR shooters in converted warehouses? Horror games in my house? That'll be games.
Practicing without the weight of impact of a club/racket is good.
Its niche but definitely a new dawn for gaming. FB might be too early but they're in the right space.
The Quest 2 supports the magic keyboard and has multiple screens in the home screen.
Have you played Eleven Table Tennis? Have you played Thrill of the Fight? That's exercise right there!
Sadly I also suspect that blockchain will go down with the whole cryptocurrency ship due to guilt-by-association, much like the AI winter that followed the overhyped 1980s era took with it a number of viable limited-domain solutions that had to wander the desert for 20-30 years before being revivified for the current AI/ML efforts.
Well I challenge you to find a single real-life use of blockchain that is not tied to cryptocurrencies then.
Find a single problem that is best solved using blockchain, but doesn't involve crypto.
What the startup did NOT want to be is the single source of authority or federation for permissions, group membership, user management, etc (they would not only become the single point of attack but the devices themselves would be dependent upon the existence of the company continuing to provide federation services, so going-out-of-business would render the devices useless).
The most obvious solution to those issues was a blockchain-based system. As long as devices existed they could continue to interop, the entries in the blockchain provided audit trails, the entries could be replayed for sync purposes, etc.
Basically, limited to niche games and simulation training. Where as AR has more usefulness than VR does. But it doesn't matter since Meta is working in both of those industries.
> Whereas with blockchain, well, it's mostly used for speculation and I still haven't seen people use it as a legitimate currency.
What is wrong with using stablecoins? Everyone knows Bitcoin has failed in being useful for payments or how very volatile it is for a business to use.
Who is exactly printing tons of these stablecoins, USDP? or any other regulated stablecoin?
> and you have the no chargebacks part of crypto.
And using cryptocurrencies eliminates chargeback fraud which that is abused by the users. The merchants can get their accounts shutdown and their money withheld for months due to the payment processors locking the money and they always side with the bank, which of whom have no context if the chargeback is fraudulent or not.
I don't see how one can use stablecoins for speculation purposes, which one can do with Bitcoin, which that is completely unsuitable for payments.
Pre-covid we had a bar that accepted BTC using Lightning Network :(
And that assumes they aren't using one of those services that accepts BTC and automatically converts it to USD at the time of the sale.
Well. That's the key point. Lots of people did social networks. Several had a lot if success with them. Remember circa 2007? FB was one of many. Zuck made a social network that (a) got and stayed popular (b) made no way and (c) successfully changed user behaviour. Before FB, social media was mostly anonymous and targeted at young, fringe or techno-elite online culture. FB are mass market.
I agree that VR is yet to be seen, and that fb's ability to execute is dubious. But, Zuck is more capable than most/all CEOs of social media seen this far.
Twitter us more if a lucky shot.
It remains true though that social media, generally, is not technically demanding. That said, the demands of scale complicate that. Look at Amazon and aws.
There aren't many fb-scale tech companies out there. It's not competition in an infinite field. It's competition in a field of one.. or perhaps three. JPMorgan or Berkshire Hathaway aren't going to beat them at this game. If it's a matter of beating other mega scale tech shops, it may be just a matter of executing better than not executing.
Competition at the ground floor (say series A) is brutal. Even if you're brilliant, you probably need a great strategy and greater luck. Competition at the mid range is meaningful. A Zara, Boots or OnePlus or whatnot still need to beat other players. At the FB/google level... there just aren't enough players. They don't necessarily compete at all, against other players. Products can succeed or fail, but it's not about head to head abilities. Where competition actually exists, like azure/aws, at best it's usually a field of 2 or 6 possible competitors with a chance of outside disruption. They're not in a "beat restaurant in town" game.
I loved Myspace. I met so many cool people in my 20s in that 2-3 year window they had that I never would have otherwise. My mom though was never joining Myspace. Myspace was almost closer to a dating site to find new friends as much as connecting with people you already knew.
Games are not really a good example of why you would want to have that. Not at least yet.
See for example
VR as a new way of human existence as the current metaverse hype claims - for that, I've not seen any concrete proofs of yet.
Also VR as some kind of social networking replacement seems unlikely to me because huge par of the time people spend on social networks is not while sitting at home dedicating time to this activity. Most people are not going to lug around VR headset everywhere they go.
I would recommend VR videos though, there are a few from Oculus TV which are amazing, they are an entirely new experience.
I wouldn't even go that far: it was merely executed well enough that it didn't squander being in the right place at the right time by being terrible.
This is one of the reasons why getting a minimal viable product out quickly (where the definition of “minimal viable” includes that not-being-terrible caveat) can be so important when working on a new idea.
Facebook figured out that using your real full name in an electronic social network had huge advantages in terms of connecting your real world social network.
They killed Myspace because of the network effect the above had when people started finding their friends from high school easily online. Early on I think you even had to join a network specifically for your high school so everyone had their first and last names along with their labeling for their high school.
It sounds stupid and obvious now but before Facebook the average person didn't broadcast their first and last name on the internet.
Right thing¹, right place, right time, executed well enough.
 whether this thing was an act of genius or just the right thing if several thrown at the wall, we could possibly debate.
On the ethics thing: they introduced some mechanisms around this, but the appointment of Nick Clegg to drive this as head of "Global Affairs" was always an eyebrow-raiser for those even slightly politically aware in the UK, and predictably less effective than FB management needed him to be (note: I voted Lib Dem in 2010 because I believed in his leadership - it's what he did next that showed the warning signs).
I think another quarter of decline and we might see a major shake-up, and I wouldn't be amazed to see Whatsapp getting payment (including crypto) functionality as a bit of Hail Mary to build another social network moat.
> The payments feature on App is not available in this country.
I hope they hadn't even tried. Initially, Facebook offered lots of value in the early years in the form that users were actually able to follow their friends' lives and stay connected. You had a bunch of friends and you would see a mostly chronological list of what they had posted that you read until you recognized something you had already seen. If they had kept it that simple Facebook might actually be something I'd be willing to pay for. The newsfeed is absolutely the core of the product and they started ruining it about ten years ago, and very steadily at that.
They could've easily expanded into more social features, longer-form stuff like Livejournal, personal creative stuff like Deviantart, and personal creative/selling like Etsy and Bandcamp and print-on-demand books, etc.
Another killer feature they flopped on was personas. Nobody really wants their entire extended family, current former and potential coworkers and bosses, customers, preacher, old friends, romantic interests, drug dealer, and fetish group all hanging out together in the same room talking. So people made separate accounts and different names but Facebook continually fought hard against that very basic nature of human social networking.
Instead of any social-networking improvements to their core, they just removed all the value from the feed. And then bought out another messenger and another place to post photos, both of which they already had. Then a halfhearted videos thing and now a VR Second Life clone.
Facebook needed to fill that gap with content from elsewhere. That's where influencers and content creators came in. Who are way less interesting than your friends, but they do post content regularly.
I don't think facebook had a choice.
It's like only one in ten SMS texts would actually reach the other party: people would complain about SMS being broken just like they complain Facebook doesn't show them what they want to see.
Instead of your friend's posts you will see half a dozen random posts from your friends each day, too often from one prolific poster, and the rest is ads or group spam. Why bother writing anything relevant, deep, or fun when only a fraction of your friends will ever see it.
I think that Facebook's only real revenue option that would have also retained the fundamental value of the social network and its effects was to behave either as a third-party sentiment/preference analysis service ala Nielsen Ratings or as a source of ad targeting for individuals (based on their sentiments/preferences expressed within FB) that could be sold for use external to the FB experience... and I have suspicions that even the latter might have eventually led to distorting that core FB experience.
The social network and the behaviors within it were only truly valuable if externally observed without intervention. By pushing behaviors that FB itself wanted users to perform they broke the uniquely valuable part.
There used to be way to view posts off a friend list, and you could then create a list of all of your friends to emulate the old newsfeed (or The Wall). This at least tried to work except it also only tracked back so far, it still did miss posts (but not as many as the other two views), and most importantly the friend list feed was scrapped last year.
I find your analysis excellent apart from this bit. It’s really far from obvious to me that VR has any future outside a gaming niche.
And also yeah, VR porn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Aix8NuU8pE is relevant LOL.
Someone who spends 1-2 hours a day using Oculus, I wholeheartedly disagree.
(Avatar as the single exception)
2 kids movies
1 animated movie
some short but interesting documentaries.
(horror movies runner up (mostly resident evil lol)
Not exactly market crushing content.
Did you see the Great Gatsby? Did you see it in 3D? It was almost like the sober examination of the unrestrained materialism and absent moral center of the roaring 20s jumped right out at you.
"Consumers don't want it, but they will use it anyways, because Apple/whoever said so"
Primary improvements in OQ2 over previous headsets: Higher Quality + Lower Price + More Portable.
Very easy for me to believe if you just keep improving in those areas you end up with a device that will be present in every lower-middle-class+ household.
VR is one of those things that’s really fun to use at your friend’s house, but not something you want to use daily.
The Quest(2) is not tethered but has the "gaming PC" built inside of it, no need to bolt lighthouses to your living room walls, and has the frictionless ecosystem polish of the PS/X-box. So it sits charging on my couch, always updating itself and the games in the background, and when I have 10 minutes of boredom during WFH, I can slip it on my head and will instantly resume the last game state I was on, no cables, no PC, no maintaining or curating drivers and SW, none of that stuff. Zero friction. And I can also put it in my backpack and take it to a friend's place instead of having the whole setup bolted to my living room.
I also had work colleagues with gaming PCs buy the Index and return it in the 30 day window after getting bored of the nuisance of cables and SW, then buy a Quest 2 and keep it.
The Quest absolutely killed the Index for the mainstream VR market and got Valve to move in the same direction.
It definitely is not (saying as a PC gamer for over 15 years). If you don't already use your gaming PC regularly for other stuff so that the whole loading, update and maintenance is part of the daily experience anyway, then, you first have to fire up the gaming PC, wait for it to load, login to Windows, then you might have Windows nagging you for an update, then maybe Nvidia gaming hub or whatever they're calling it nowadays nags you for an update, then maybe you have to reboot, then open the steam launcher, then maybe that also want some updates, then fire up the game, then you have to clear your surrounding environment to make room for the cable tether and make sure you don't trip on it, then put on the Index, then finally you can play.
To most people that wohle ritual gets annoying and puts off the casual gamers who want a quick gaming session every now and then without dealing with any of that crap. The Quest is literally just put on and go since it's just like a console, which is also more popular for gaming than PCs for the convenience and the lack of friction.
Windows updates don't prompt anymore. They download automatically and apply at the next reboot. Steam starts at boot and updates every thing in the background. Never had an Nvidia popup, don't use anything else than a driver for my GPU. As soon as you put on the headset and turn on the controllers it wakes up, starts SteamVR and you can play.
I don't care how long you've been a PC gamer in the past. The time that gaming on Windows was a chore is long gone. Stuff just works on Windows now.
Which barrier? People can game twice a month due to lack of time, not because of a barrier from the device. And those two times a month they have the time to game, they want to jump into the game directly, not do OS/driver/game updates first.
That's one of the reasons the Quest destroyed the Valve index in sales and why consoles are more popular then PCs for gaming.
In my mind it’s a novelty you will be far more productive without.
>And you can’t use your phone, have something on in the background, etc.
I don't get what you meant here.
My favorite VR experience was actually a game that wasn’t designed for VR but sort of serendipitously worked extremely well (Elite: Dangerous). Space dogfights in VR are incredible and super-immersive. It still gave me a headache after a bit of playtime but I usually pushed through until my ship was out of ammo and I needed to reload.
But after playing E:D in VR, most VR native games like Space Pirate Simulator, Beat Saber or Superhot VR just feel like shallow toys. E:D is closer to an immersive experience than any of them; I actively wanted to stay in VR longer but my eyes would not let me.
> I don't get what you meant here.
I meant that it’s hard to simultaneously perform VR and non-VR activities (or switch back and forth between them quickly).
Looking at my teenage kids and their friends, they barely use Instagram (let alone Facebook), it's all about TikTok.
I wonder how important this demographic really is. I understand there's an argument for kids being the future, and so on, but almost everyone I know with disposible income is on Instagram and Facebook, via the apps, and seeing ads. As teenage kids stop being teenage kids, they're going to start caring about sharing baby photos and travel photos and cyber-bullying their mayor and stuff, for which the only games in town are Instagram and FB. In short, I don't think it matters if teenagers are ignoring the platforms as long as they age into them, which I think they might well, especially considering kids don't actually have much money to spend.
During my elementary school days, we had a small course to teach us about economics and corporate values. The examine two old companies: Nintendo and Reader's Digest. Both companies predated our grandparents and they asked if they would both outlive us as students. The "correct" answer for the assignment was that Reader's Digest would continue on into the 22nd century while Nintendo would be out of business before the 21st. The reasoning was that Nintendo markets to children, who are both broke and fickle, while Reader's Digest markets to mature professionals, who are loyal and wealthy. No one would continue to play video games after the age of twelve and everyone with a college degree who hit thirty would subscribe to Reader's Digest
For those who are unaware, Reader's Digest declared bankruptcy in 2013 and was solve off for £1. Nintendo is currently worth $55 billion.
I always remember that lesson when people talk about how children will age out of enjoying the things that they currently enjoy and age into caring about the things that their parents care about.
This does presume that the metric is money and not eyeballs; from where I sit tech in general cares little about revenue and a lot about "daily active users".
Despite that, if you can brainwash 0-15 year olds into the belief that your brand is great, the future goodwill may offer significant rewards as you evolve with your users.
I know we're all on HN and know how the sausage is made, but nonetheless that's such a dystopian sentence to have to write! I genuinely believe that the attention (ie manipulation) economy will be today's lead paint and asbestos.
You're assuming that TikTok won't evolve in a span of 10 years.
Essentially Zuckerberg is fast forwarding the future so he’ll have place to sell ads in without a 3rd part like Apple setting the rules.
This is also why he goes full VR and not AR which would likely require a phone somewhere on the side.
I used to work for an extremely unfashionable website that nevertheless was one of the most visited on the web (even though you'd probably be surprised by that if you knew the site) and my experience there was that leadership tried to replicate that success with dozens of other products and never once was able to do it. So much of what made the original site successful was timing and luck.
Convincing my parents to buy a computer so I could program was a struggle. We were on public assistance.
I am not saying that it's all like winning a lottery - you still have to take advantage of the opportunity, but they were born in Earth's orbit when trying to launch to the Moon, while most of us had to overcome gravity first.
Luck is not everything, but it IS a factor.
10 years ago Facebook was the place to know what’s going on in your social circle. You’d find out about events or share experiences, setting relationship status was something of significance.
Then the feed became more and more laden with sponsored posts or posts by meme pages. Sharing something personal in this kind of environment suddenly felt awkward.
These days it’s rare to see posts by actual people you know - so why bother?
If I was in Zuck's shoes, I would kill all political content on the site... immediately and banish it to never come back. Really all outside content needs to go, I don't want news of any sort from FB aside from the "original content" my friends produce. And if you want, inject a reasonable number of ads in between, and I can deal with that, but their "product" in my eyes is their social feed, and that is a fraction of the size it once was.
It’s strange that they didn’t spot this happening. They do now, at least!
No, the lesson from MS (and IBM, Oracle and SAP) is that once you have a large enough moat of captive users who can't really move away, you can just "go on" and deliver crap to your users as long as the quality of the competition stays below the quality of your crap. And if there is someone coming close, buy them up.
The problem of FB is that there is, at the core, nothing except the "network effect" that creates such a moat. No multi-year contracts with governments or megacorps worth billions of dollars, no source of recurring revenue other than ads, there is nothing that fundamentally ties customers - both "end users" and advertisers - to Facebook.
They actually have that already. Now it's called "workplace" but before it was called "facebook for work", think Yammer from MS.
I don't know what the uptake on this product is, but this specific product might be a case of "Solving a problem no business is having." For instance I think it'd be hard to justify purchasing this service for an enterprise without a compelling use-case. But I certainly think that Facebook has the resources make something that solves a problem that people really do have.
On the other hand, Slack seems to solve a problem pretty well that most businesses have.
Finally, I don't think VR as it currently exists solves a problem any business (or person) truly has beyond sheer entertainment. It remains "cool tech" that has yet to find a solid, non-gaming use case for the average person. This may change but this is why I currently think Meta is in trouble and I'm puzzled as to why Zuckerberg would go all-in on VR.
Meta has interesting products for VR work: virtual desktop, meetings/calls with presentation slides. They are one step from decent AR: their passthrough mode is quite good.
They have enough cash to buy any decent VR product and a team behind it, if they see a potential synergy.
So I think Zuck's bet on VR may in the end play out. A hype around everything "metaverse" is unprecedented right now.
Disclaimer: I have a long stake in $META in my portfolio.
I suspect that’s because it wouldn’t just let anybody in. Looking back, the decision to open Facebook up to everyone was (in my book) a bad one. I’ll use the nightclub analogy — a good social network, like a good nightclub, must have bouncers (of sorts) to ensure a quality experience. I realise the conflict between this and Metcalfe’s “law”.
Also, seriously, why not just charge for Facebook and WhatsApp. WhatsApp usage is at levels now when a lot of people will pay for it — and at one point (pre-Facebook) they weren’t free in first-world markets.
It used to be for young uni students and posting photos of your night out, nowadays it's for retirees arguing about politics.
If Facebook could have embraced the mainstream interest in privacy and converted themselves to become a global digital identity provider, they could have become so much more and be on ethical side of history. Now they are almost pursuing both, while not realizing that they have to let go of one (and incur short-term losses) to pursue other.
I think it is...eventually. But the technology to go from where we're at -- where it's mostly just useful for games -- to a true game-changer in the big picture, it's just not there yet. Gonna be several years at the bare minimum, probably, a lot of problems still need to be solved.
I had hope that Libra (now Diem) would bring them into personal finance. There are hard problems to solve and the industry is ripe for disruption. Every FB user could have a FB wallet. Remittance, Marketplace, loans, etc.. So many things possible across the entire globe. Not just in the West. They could eat PayPal's lunch.
Instead, Zuck turned his focus to the Metaverse. I really don't get it.
Apple has no new products in a long time, just overpriced toys that are sold due to good marketing. Most of their money comes from market positioning and closed eco system.
Thry were innovative in the past (that first iphone reveal), but for last years they basically are an app store that takes a 30% cut.
Does it have MS office with macros, or still only a limited version?
It's a good play only if he finds a way to monetise it on a similar scale he does with the social network. I might have my open-mindedness failing me, but I simply can't see a way how VR can be monetised even close to selling the access to and influence over masses on a global scale.
You are kind of right about innovation force at facebook. Although, really not sure, why they didn't do more of it. Like getting into cloud similar to google. Especially pytorch kind of feels better then tensorflow. Really strange.
On the other hand google innovated like hell, but in the end it's still google search which makes most of the profits. So maybe there is just not much potential in innovating and holding it's position is more important (which they are doing).
“I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS. People just submitted it. I don't know why.!They ‘trust me’. Dumb fucks.” - Mark Zuckerberg at 19 years old.
No, he always had scummy intentions and does not deserve credit for exploiting people’s trust.
I don't see how you could do that. Even recognizing a blind spot like that is extremely difficult and then changing that company DNA is near impossible, it might be even harder than pushing for more innovation.
Both are the same problem though: changing culture. That is only possible with a drastic change at the top, which didn't happen.
Zuck would have had to have a personal epiphany for that to happen because he's un-fireable.
Yep, I am surprised they didn't do this many years ago. WeChat does this pretty significantly in China.
Now regarding VR. I'm really happy he is going all in on it. He might fail but it's a bold move. Too early to tell but I'm not betting against him.
Facebook has created Facebook Workplace from scratch which is very successfull, is this not innovating ?
Facebook has resisted the growth of Snapchat, is this not innovating ?
WhatsApp has continued to grow after its acquisition and is very successful today.
Facebook is clearly one of the most innovative company of this size.
Buying companies and being able to make them grow is clear proof that Facebook is innovative. In the real world most acquisitions end up failing
I was really sad the day that WhatsApp stopped charging money.
It's not clear what, if any, benefit that has had. But it's going to be something
I'm just surprised it's taken this long for it to start affecting hard numbers.
What I mean by that is - random disappearing newsfeed elements, and random exposé of page admins' personal accounts while commenting on something, bizarre disappearance of comments, loading signs everywhere and for everything and what not.
Sure, one can argue their investment into ReactJS could be considered as innovation. But, look at the business side of things - What value has ReactJS ACTUALLY provided to the site NOW compared to what it was in 2010? Not much.
In 2010, Facebook was this minimalist website where you could add people and post stuff on each others' walls and yeah, occasionally message them. Today, it is a beast that is tons of megabytes downloaded to your computer on the first page visit with a "Messenger platform" - which is just rebranded basic messaging functionality and the clusterfuck that is "Facebook business suite" which is an unnecessarily complicated garbage UI for basic page admin functionality and their "Ads Platform" whose feature set various with where and how you use it. Not to forget Facebook's screwing up of m.facebook.com (the mobile site) where it is barely usable now and with half the features not working (eg. links in stories). Oh, and did I mention about Facebook Lite, Facebook App, Pages App, etc etc. and none of them look like a complete, polished product.
Facebook is a classic case of a taking a good product and screwing it up with needless complexity to the point where the core product is unusable. All this Meta push is just a nail in the coffin for users like me who have had enough - whose expectation wasn't much - just to stay in touch with friends and family. Sometimes, innovation could be as simple as maintaining a stable, core value proposition. I am noticing a lot of people around me are switching back (anecdotal observation) to plain old websites and blogs to express their thoughts and I love that.
I for one, can't wait for the downfall of Facebook, so we can go back to less bloated non-react-vue-js powered SPAs and just back to bare hyperlink powered static webpages :)
I can't remember who it was - maybe Stratechery - that theorized that Zuckerberg thanks to his experience running Facebook had a really good intuition for when Social media where going to go far and thus was able to make deals that at first looked wildly overpriced but in the end seemed to be a steal.
Perhaps their problem right now is that there hasn't been a social media with the growth potential that has been worth their acquiring.
At any rate not sure if I would say just because they failed one time (even with scandals of last few years) that they're really in trouble, that strikes me too much like most financial journalism that says oh no company X had a bad quarter that's it they're toast and then it turns out they come back the next quarter. I say that as someone who does not care for Facebook or any of their acquisitions (although lots in my family like Whatsapp)
It kind of helps when you use a VPN called Onavo to spy on what apps people are using...
I wonder how much survivorship bias there is here. Presumably they've made some truly dreadful acquisitions too?
EDIT: and Oculus, too
The question has always been if META manages to create/buy the next big centralised social network after facebook.
And this has always been a long shot.
Not every company needs to be Apple to succeed.
Right? Imagine what could've been if they would acknowledge problems they've caused and co-operate with society to help overcome them. Such a radical idea. Instead, in the hands of capitalism, they were focused on the short-term giant profits that everyone knows won't last forever. It'll be joyful to watch it collapse. I think they were to proud of themselves to admit what they've created - a 21st century phonebook and that's it.
Whatever FB's innovation is, it doesn't age well, otherwise fades so fast
I hate Facebook, but I will buy its stock, and I will make money.
Facebook was not the first. There were already mass-market social networking websites when Facebook emerged, like MySpace and Friendster.
The younger generation has already dropped Facebook, like their predecessors dropped MySpace. And they are still able to communicate with each other without using e-mail.
I don't recall much have changed since ... 2012, except perceived quality of search results