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This doesn't surprise me in that it seems like a natural fit for Facebook, who has a Mobile Problem [tm].

As much as people fear Facebook becoming The Internet (in the AOL sense), Facebook is actually really late to this party.

Apple has a mobile OS, a content and payments ecosystem and a deeply integrated set of products.

Google has a mobile OS, GMail, a search engine, a burgeoning content ecosystem and its Maps/local properties.

Amazon has a content and payments ecosystem, a limited mobile presence (Kindle Fires basically, which are of course tablets not phones) and cloud infrastructure.

All of these things are (IMHO) pieces in technology's future. Facebook really is a one trick pony (although an 8000 pound pony if you want to stretch the metaphor).

It's why you saw them panic about Instagram (if a ~2 year old company with 13 employees is an existential threat then your position is, by definition, precarious).

It's why rumours of a Facebook Phone have circulated for a year or two (eg Project Spartan) and why Facebook launched Facebook Home. It's trying to get the benefits of having a mobile OS without actually developing one and building market share (ask Microsoft how hard that is).

Facebook's strength really is being a closed silo/platform for The Internet (or a version of it at least). So buying Parse makes perfect sense as they want to extend the reach and power of the Facebook platform.

Congrats to the Parse guys.

Disclaimer: I am an engineer for Google.




Ironic that Google seems to have a social networking problem, while Facebook has a mobile problem.


Facebook has a mindshare problem. I no longer consider it a driving force in my social interaction and I'm of the older generation. The younger generation seems to have abandoned it already. It's now a deposit for the occasional family photo and lately seems to be full of chain spam.

When you think back to the history of social networks (AOL, Compuserv, Friendster, Myspace) these things don't have a great half-life.

They need to reinvent themselves and fast, and extending their reach isn't as much the issue as reasserting relevance through great content.


I've noticed this, too. I still log into FB often. But, my FB feed is dead. Only 1 of my 100+ friends still posts something regularly (every week or two). At first, I just thought people created filters that didn't include me (when that feature was introduced). But, they're just not using FB anymore. Thinking back, I almost totally stopped posting stuff around the time they did because the site just began to feel creepy (foto tagging, etc) and started feeling like a mostly empty room at the end of a party. FB feels today like lj and myspace felt right before they died.

I've been keeping an eye out for the next social site where everyone is going. But, there doesn't seem to be one this time. I think social might finally be over.


I'm the one early adapters of Facebook in Turkey since 2006. I was 19 at that time and studying in college. I was trying to push my friends to sign up because it looked like i was the only one in facebook town, alone. Since then i have chance to watch evolution of facebook while I and my friends are growing up. Now I'm 26 and i have bunch of people in my friends (400+) including 50< and 15> years old relatives. I can say that now I'm feeling alone again, despite the crowded feed(bunch of sponsored stories and meme). I can say that I don't have friends to push them to sign up anymore. Summary it's time to move on for all of us even facebook. In this perspective It makes sense to buy b2b company.


Uh, your sample is wayyyy different from mine. There are six posts in the last hour just by people I'm close to. I don't think Facebook is dying in any sense of the word among normal people.


Normal people eh? ;)

Speaking of late to the party Facebook is just in the process of taking off here in Japan, it's already very popular and appears to be taking over from social networks like Mixi which have previously dominated here.

I don't have any numbers to back this up though, I'm just basing it on the change in usage I've seen here in the last two years. Certainly Facebook is alive and well here, even _useful_ if you can imagine it!


Regardless of Facebook's future, I can say with a certainty that human beings, as a social species, are very unlikely to stop being so at any point in the near or distant future.


>>Thinking back, I almost totally stopped posting stuff around the time they did because the site just began to feel creepy (foto tagging, etc) and started feeling like a mostly empty room at the end of a party.

I can almost picture your friends snickering at you saying thinks like "Boy, look at vabmit, still has not realized that Facebook is so yesterday"


Reddit, Google+, and this great game called RealLife.


G+ has its set of users and it might grow in the coming days, but by integrating G+ with Google search they are destroying the sanctity of search. Having to sign up for a social network so that my blog posts can have my photo and name appear in search results is evil. Google can use existing microdata to achieve a similar result. But they want to push their social network down my throat if I want to make my website appear in google search with authorship data.


I haven't posted anything on Google+ is well over a year. I don't think people moving to Google+ from FB. And, I'm sure Google+ is not the next big social network.


I hope that the next social network will be real life and that online services will go back to what those things used to be: websites that do one thing good (see Flickr) rather than trying to buy our mortal souls. Or giving me (us?) the feeling this is is what they're trying to do.


Real life? Are you suggesting that there's no value in socialising online?


Totally disagree. I'm in college right now and Facebook+Instagram are still the social networks of choice. If anything Facebook has only lost it's novelty because it's assumed everyone has one.

The only thing that sucks up more of my time is Hacker News :)


Also totally disagree. Sounds like the average Hacker News comment that has no bearing on real users. I keep up with all of my college friends (recently left), high school friends, and almost all new San Francisco friends through Facebook.

- I get its messages delivered to my phone.

- Most every party I go to has a Facebook event associated with it.

- Pretty much every picture taken with my friends goes to it (or Instagram).

I'd say that's pretty normal for most people I interact with.


Maybe the Hacker News take on Facebook is similar to the Yogi Berra quote on Ruggeri's restaurant:

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."


Same here, still at university and Facebook takes up far too much of my time. I and my classmates are on it before, during and after class.


> If anything Facebook has only lost it's novelty because it's assumed everyone has one.

Sometimes I think every social network is doomed to die in a certain number of years. Facebook simply isn't cool any more because everybody's on it now, which mean's it's ripe for disruption by a network of cool people.


I feel inclined to agree. The same thing happened to MySpace, and (in the Netherlands) to Hyves. I'm sure there are more examples.


by the time a company reaches $65 billion market cap, the time for a complete reinvention is over. businesses of that size should be mature cash machines. if the plan is to generate cash by offering b2b services, whereas up until now everyone thought it was advertising to slavish users, I think now might be a good time to run as far away from possible from facebook stock.


If google keeps ramming their social network product down peoples throats it won't be very long before they have more than just a social networking problem.


As a user my G+ experience is so far superior to my Facebook one that I laugh every time I read something like this. I check my G+ every day because my streams are interesting and I enjoy it; I check my FB everyday because my entire extended family, pre-school friends and their dogs have accounts there.

People are crazy to think that Google should not just have one account that spans all their services, it makes business and technical sense; however, if you don't like G+ just don't use it- your Google account just might mean you have a blank place holder page there.


I have a G+ account, 'branded' and everything. However, I also have other Gmail accounts I've created over the years, like a spam account I use to sign up for spammy websites, etc.

The problem is, Google wants me to unify all those, 'brand' them, and get them on G+ and Youtube, and keeps popping up annoy ware about it. One of them on Youtube recently tricked me, and I'm still not sure I selected the most appropriate option.

I appreciate Google is offering fairly granular choices, along with the choice to make no change at all. But this is just more noise and cognitive overhead I don't want to have to deal with.

I already use Google's full unified services they way they want me to with my primary account, I wish they'd just realize that and drop it with the rest.


I don't use facebook either. So G+ is far inferior because at least I can get facebook out of my life.


Do you just not like the name? As voidlogic points out, it's basically a generic account for Google services. There's a potential to engage socially, but you don't have to.


That is not true. I bought an Android phone and every photo I click gets uploaded to G+ (thought with closed visibility) I am unable to see how to disable it.


I'm pretty hard to fool.


No, you're just hard to please. There's a difference.


He is a C programmer.


i dont understand why people say g+ experience is superior to facebook.. every time i come across a g+ album i find it very annoying.. that i have to reach the top corner to close the slide show of the album.. and the fact that when i reach the last picture of the album and i click next i get suggestions to checkout some random g+ albums.. all i wanted was to go to the beginning of the current allbum..

and i can see more stuff in a facebook page, less scrolling..

i know this is subjective that people prefer different things. but it annoys me soo much that people are soo vocal about g+ being superior to facebook in design/usability sense.. i don't see it..


Perhaps enjoying the use of it, and having everyone and their dog on it, are mutually exclusive? Some kind of extra variable in Metcalfe's law :P


Perhaps- then again G+ has a volume for each of your circles so you can get less of the less interesting stuff on your feed.


I'm pretty sure Google made G+ to integrate better with products like Glass, which are only just starting to pick up steam. This video helped clarify why Google would invest so much into Google+ :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMY-iNnqUIo


I think it is already a bigger problem. In past Google has always been quick to accept their failures and correct it's course but with their social networking product I think they are not willing to admit that they are a miserable failure.


Way, way too soon to declare G+ a miserable failure. It's the lynchpin to their long term strategy for maintaining their dominance and relevance in Search, which in turn is how their Golden Goose of ad revenue lays its eggs.

Whether us schmuck users like or dislike it is irrelevant. At some point, G+ will be mandatory, as someone in Slate (i think, or maybe on quora somewhere) recently wrote...


If Google makes G+ mandatory, then they expose themselves to competitors that don't require such ties.


And if its mandatory for search, then anti-trust too.


I can already feel the pressure building to start using G+, just to help with search engine results. Which makes me resent G+


Indeed. I think Youtube's "Hey, you should use your real name!" nag to be a very unsettling sign of things to come. My friends @ the Googleplex also note that there was a large schism internally wrt the whole "real name" push, but that's all heresay anyway.

I found the article I mentioned: http://www.fastcompany.com/3004448/plus-one-proof-google-plu...

The author thinks G+ will be huge by the end of 2013, which is much too short a timeline... but otherwise I think his analysis is spot-on. Some highlights:

"Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to it, but Google Plus is really Google’s version of Google. It’s the groundwork for a level of search quality difficult to fathom based on what we know today. It’s also the Borg-like hive-queen that connects all the other Google products like YouTube, Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books, and more. And Google is starting to roll these products all up into a big ball of awesome user experience by way of Google Plus, and that snowball is starting to pick up speed and mass."

("awesome user experience" is obviously highly subjective and debatable)

"What makes Google Plus different is that it is the new backbone of a company that does search better than anyone already--something Facebook could never compete with. You use Google to search, right? Well, imagine if Google knew every piece of data about you that Facebook knew. Imagine how better equipped they would be to serve you what you are looking for. Google Plus is a way of entrenching Google’s dominance in that area, not a way of stealing Facebook users. If you are in first place, that’s the time to accelerate your lead."

and the conclusion:

"I know. You are still in the “no freaking way am I joining another social network” mode. But one day soon you will wake up and find out about that one little thing and it goes something like this:

Your buddy, “Hey have you heard about this one little thing?”

You: “Oh. My. God. That’s Awesome. That’s so Awesome. How do I get that?”

Your buddy: “Oh, you need to have a Google Plus Profile or it doesn’t work.”"


The inverse of that is the Microsoft experience - I can remember a similar resentment slowly building across the late 90s. We all still used MS products, and jumped to their tune, but the underlying resentment meant that as soon as an alternative appeared (OSX for some, ipods and/or iOS for others) we jumped as quick as we could.


I wondered that is what google would want, but I dont see how they can make G+ mandatory for their search customers. This would mean you would have to be signed into to google to search. And it is just not that G+ is not actively used , Facebook has been adding real users and is growing. Forget the fact I won't move to G+ until 50 of my 150 friends move to g+( which is a very low # among my friends, most of them have atleast few hundered ). you will have to export your pictures and some other personalized content to another site. IMO, the best time for a new social venture to gain traction is when it is new on the block. and google has failed. honcho's at google will admit the failure and move on from the social networking space, if their compensations are not tied to g+.


Why do you think they'll move away from social? Asking because, for me, this looks like they'r going "all in" here. They want all private data and social is missing in their chain. But, hmmm, looks like it's much harder to become Big Brothers right hand >:-)


Mandatory. As in a dictate under a threat, perceived or existent. How do you figure?


Mandatory. As in activate G+ to keep using YouTube. Then Gmail.


Having an account is not the same as using it. I mean, I have a facebook account, and I don't even know what facebook looks like.


Well, you can no longer leave comments on the Play Store without using your G+ profile & real name (so I don't post comments).


And that's a people-getting-the-hell-out-of-dodge problem. Google's services are the best in many arenas, but they aren't without competitors.


Google should've bought Facebook years ago, when it was still small.


Do you really think Zuckerberg would have agreed to that? I doubt it. Facebook was still relatively small when Yahoo offered to buy them for $1 billion but Zuckerberg didn't give it much thought at all.


But, honestly, in the mid-2000's, would you have wanted to be bought by Yahoo?


Honestly, 1 billion $ for a 2 year old startup, i wouldnt have thought twice.

Its easy to say Zuckerberg did the right thing in hindsight of course.


Well, there's no guarantee that Google would have known what to do with it if they had ;)


At worst they could have killed it instead of having to fight it. At best, it could have become what it is today or at least something similar.


Meh, that never works. Remember Yahoo also offered $1B for Google in 2002 or so.

Google had a social network that launched in 2004 as well, at almost the exact same time as Facebook -- Orkut.


It sometimes works, it's just that you never hear about it when it does because you forget all about the small company and it's just seen as a big company's hot new product.

Recall that Google bought Android and YouTube when they were small, Google bought Where2 (Google Maps) when it was small, Google bought Writely (Google Docs) when it was small, Yahoo bought Flickr when it was small, Google bought MetaWeb (those knowledge cards on the right of the search result page) and ITA (flight search) when they were medium-sized, Twitter bought Summize (Twitter Search) when it was small, and Conde Nast bought Reddit when it was small.

The key seems to be to either let the acquired company continue to do its thing without interference or to fold it into a high-priority project within the acquirer, though.


holy crap, Orkut still exists. just logged in, saw that I got some badges inlcuding the 'early user' one for having an account that's older than 5 years.

my oh my, what a waste. anyone outside of brazil using this? why is LP keeping this around and not shutting this down after migrating all users to g+? focus, focus, focus?


A social network they didn't let anyone into; seriously don't understand how you expect to develop a social network/platform with a limited beta test.


Given the very lucrative and competitive mobile market space, we will likely to see tremendous updates in the Android platform if Google have acquired it.

At least Facebook won't be biased about what mobile platform to support, it can support all other platforms without focusing on specific Android.

I use Parse as my backend for my iOS apps and it is absolutely useful. They provided a great service and the mPaAS approach to developing and managing mobile apps data and services is revolutionary.


That's not really fair. Google seem to work very hard to provide a first class iOS experience on their own services. No reason to assume they'd shut that down on something they acquired.


Well,

1. They shut down their acquired companies and their products on many occasions that many people are dependent upon

2. They shut down a handful of Google tools many people are dependent upon

3. They even close people's Google accounts.

Use their service, yes, but trust them after all of this dents they made? maybe.

The weight of their actions is so great, I can't even begin to talk about matters in relation to trust on their side. It's just _hard_.

I'm glad Facebook acquired Parse.


Oh, this. Shutting down services is different to restricting services to your own platform. Perhaps you have a point, perhaps Google would hypothetically have decided to shut down Parse had they acquired it, but it's not fair to suggest they'd have limited it to Android.


Doesn't make business sense to ignore the scores using iOS.


If it drives users away from iOS then it does. Apple is the biggest threat to google.


I disagree. Google is probably the biggest threat to Apple, and Apple is probably the biggest threat to Android, but not to Google. Apple has essentially no web presence, companies that do are a much bigger existential threat to Google.


you laid down an excellent foundation and then just dismissed it on the conclusion.

why does buying parse makes perfect sense for facebook? you already mentioned they are doing fine there, with their little piece of the internet in their app. why would they want to support 60,000 apps that does other things out of their little corner?

....oh, will they bait and switch them? all 60,000 apps forced to login via facebook only next month?


straight off the parse blog:

> Q: Will Parse apps have to use Facebook functionality? No.


Promises made just post acquisition have historically had a low correlation with future events.


Unfortunately that could change in a moment's notice in the future :(


I think Facebook is making a play to take over Android. Buying parse gives them an app platform and something like iCloud but it works.


I always thought that Parse would be an excellent acquisition target for Azure, since the cross-platform support of Azure for mobile platforms is done so clumsily.


Buddy would be a better acquisition target for Azure - their BaaS platform is more aligned with Azure's tech and Microsoft is an investor in Buddy (although, Google was an investor in Parse).


Facebook bought strobe in 2011 which was also an "app delivery network" and did nothing with it. Why pick up another one?


Facebook is a one trick pony as much as Google is a one trick pony (search).


A very good piece of discourse. I wish HN had more of such contributors.


Odd that all the relevant backlash comments are pushed to the bottom.




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