What would get me (and others) to shut up about Facebook?

If you haven’t been over to TechMeme (still my favorite tech news site) in the past two weeks you might have missed that I’m not the only one talking about Facebook.

Since I’m now the official “newest shiny object reporter” I was asking myself “what’s the next shiny object that will get me to switch my attention away from Facebook?”

Could it come from LinkedIn? Nah, they aren’t even playing the same game anymore. Their management team doesn’t understand developers, doesn’t have the cool culture or cool app platform that Facebook has, and it’s doubtful they’ll regain the high ground in the identity space. Plaxo? Nah, not a cool brand name and their shot is to sit down with Mark Zuckerberg and become the “Switzerland” for your Facebook data. Actually that’d be pretty brilliant for both Facebook and Plaxo to do, the new Plaxo really is a nice way to get your contact data from one app (Outlook) to the next (I’d like to move my contacts into Facebook and back out to Outlook again). Don’t ignore Plaxo, though, lots of people have been praising it lately for its moves into OpenID.

Is it Microsoft? Doubtful. Most of us still don’t really like the idea of Bill Gates storing all of our contact data and, anyway, even the coolest thing at Microsoft (Xbox) is having quality troubles, so not likely. Could Ray Ozzie pull a rabbit out of his hat? Maybe, but doubtful. There’s too much inertia at Microsoft that would keep them from building the kind of platform that would get me to shut up about Facebook.

Yahoo? Maybe, especially if Jerry stays focused on it. But they already have 250 million users on their email. That’s going to prove just as difficult a thing to deal with for Yahoo as it is for Microsoft. In other words, they’ll probably do something to make their users happy, but not disruptive enough to get me to shut up about Facebook.

So, what in the industry are we all forgetting about? Who has a platform that, if reengineered could all of a sudden pop up and make us all shut up about Facebook?

If you live in Brazil you know what it is. The thing I’m thinking about has a monopoly share of the social networking market in Brazil.

“Scoble, stop teasing me, what is it?”

Orkut.

Now, hear me out. I know Orkut is ugly. It doesn’t look like a Facebook killer. I agree. I signed in again this week just to see if anything is happening there. It’s not yet. But all the basics are there.

So, what kind of wine was I drinking to come up with this long rant? Some good Washington stuff (Reininger). But don’t hold that against me. Heheh.

Anyway, why could Orkut come back and get us all to shut up about Facebook? Do you remember who owns Orkut? Yeah, those evil kids over at Google.

Now, why is that important? Well, for one, most of the early adopters I know are on Gmail. I’m on it too, even though I keep my crusty old Hotmail account. Google has the best mobile app on my mobile phone too. Maps, if you’re on the iPhone, but if you’re on Nokia the Mobile Google app suite is really great. Lots of you, I know, are on iGoogle, which looks a little bit like Facebook’s profile page. Lots of you are using other things from Google. Picasa, for instance. Or customized Google searches. Or Google Reader. All of which would really benefit from having a Google Identity System.

So, could Google redesign Orkut, make it nice looking and functional (one of Facebook’s greatest attributes) which would appeal to people like me who are looking for the next shiny thing to use functional identity system and application delivery platform that gets everyone excited.

I don’t see anyone else who could get us all to shut up about Facebook. Do you?

118 thoughts on “What would get me (and others) to shut up about Facebook?

  1. There may be advantages in this approach — for instance, if two or more of my friends are attending Gnomedex, it only shows up in the feed once — but many folks will want more granular control over viewing their friends’ calendars inside Facebook. Google Calendar does this right, in my opinion.

  2. There may be advantages in this approach — for instance, if two or more of my friends are attending Gnomedex, it only shows up in the feed once — but many folks will want more granular control over viewing their friends’ calendars inside Facebook. Google Calendar does this right, in my opinion.

  3. Meh, I don’t see it Robert. Orkut is, as you suggest, pretty barren. Nothing new has gone on there for years. Not that I hold Facebook in ultimate regard or anything like that, but unless Google scrapped Orkut and started over completely, I just don’t see it competing.

    William
    http://www.sugarattack.com

  4. Meh, I don’t see it Robert. Orkut is, as you suggest, pretty barren. Nothing new has gone on there for years. Not that I hold Facebook in ultimate regard or anything like that, but unless Google scrapped Orkut and started over completely, I just don’t see it competing.

    William
    http://www.sugarattack.com

  5. Hate to break the news to you, but Microsoft already stores all your contact data, and that of over 300 million people as well (messenger and hotmail address books). In fact, it has been doing so for many more years than the new shiny objects.

  6. Hate to break the news to you, but Microsoft already stores all your contact data, and that of over 300 million people as well (messenger and hotmail address books). In fact, it has been doing so for many more years than the new shiny objects.

  7. First impressions of Facebook were not good, in fact, I found the UI to be non-intuitive. However, after fooling around today – adding some friends, adding some applications, experimenting, etc., I have to say that the “application” aspect is quite powerful. It’s possible that Facebook is the flavor of the month, but the successors will have to provide something similar to allow developers to create applications IMO.

    I do have to say that I don’t like the “walled garden” aspect. I like the interoperability standards of email, IM & RSS, so something that would allow people to integrate those types of things with a widget/badge type of app on their own sites would be preferable to me.

    In other words, having to jump from Friendster to LinkedIn to MySpace to Facebook and re-add people, etc. seems the wrong way to go.

  8. First impressions of Facebook were not good, in fact, I found the UI to be non-intuitive. However, after fooling around today – adding some friends, adding some applications, experimenting, etc., I have to say that the “application” aspect is quite powerful. It’s possible that Facebook is the flavor of the month, but the successors will have to provide something similar to allow developers to create applications IMO.

    I do have to say that I don’t like the “walled garden” aspect. I like the interoperability standards of email, IM & RSS, so something that would allow people to integrate those types of things with a widget/badge type of app on their own sites would be preferable to me.

    In other words, having to jump from Friendster to LinkedIn to MySpace to Facebook and re-add people, etc. seems the wrong way to go.

  9. Plaxo incorporates calendar sharing into its site and I like that about it. You’re using Upcoming in your Facebook page and Upcoming is problematic. For instance, individual Upcoming users don’t have iCal feeds (I checked with Upcoming), therefore you can’t subscribe to those feeds in Facebook unless you use the “subscribe to all my friends’ feeds” option in Upcoming. There may be advantages in this approach — for instance, if two or more of my friends are attending Gnomedex, it only shows up in the feed once — but many folks will want more granular control over viewing their friends’ calendars inside Facebook. Google Calendar does this right, in my opinion. I think Plaxo does too, though I haven’t checked it in detail.

  10. Plaxo incorporates calendar sharing into its site and I like that about it. You’re using Upcoming in your Facebook page and Upcoming is problematic. For instance, individual Upcoming users don’t have iCal feeds (I checked with Upcoming), therefore you can’t subscribe to those feeds in Facebook unless you use the “subscribe to all my friends’ feeds” option in Upcoming. There may be advantages in this approach — for instance, if two or more of my friends are attending Gnomedex, it only shows up in the feed once — but many folks will want more granular control over viewing their friends’ calendars inside Facebook. Google Calendar does this right, in my opinion. I think Plaxo does too, though I haven’t checked it in detail.

  11. Actually, what would be so brilliant about a play by Google to upgrade Orkut would be that they wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of trying to convince their users to migrate to it. Take all of their GMail users, import their address book and saved addresses, and BAM — instant social network. Then you integrate Groups, Calendar, Docs & Spreadsheets, and you could see a much more complete platform come up overnight.

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