Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Facebook Will Need Its Own Operating System

Gabby came home today for a little while and she had her Chromebook with her. If you haven't seen one yet - it's a pretty cool little notebook running Google's Chrome operating system. It boots up in about three seconds and has a battery that lasts over 8 hours. Everything is stored in the cloud so everything is accessible with a web connection. Pretty nice for a first generation device.

It got me thinking - Facebook does not have a mobile operating system (or any operating system for that matter). Apple does, Microsoft does and Google now has more than one. Poking around on the web I found an interesting report from ABI Research titled Mobile Social Networking. Here's some quotes from that report:
The number of people accessing social networks from mobile phones will exceed 550 million in 2011, and that figure will more than triple to over 1.7 billion by the end of 2016. 
For Facebook, the growing importance of mobile is both an opportunity and a serious strategic challenge. On one hand, mobile allows the world’s leading social network to engage with millions of new consumers, but on the other hand its ability to make money from mobile users remains untested. 
Senior analyst Aapo Markkanen is also quoted in the report saying, "A huge problem for Facebook is that while on the web it is a platform, on mobile it’s just another application. To strengthen its hand in the short term we expect Facebook to aggressively take advantage of HTML5, but in the longer term it should absolutely become a mobile operating system of its own."

Facebook is lagging. Google+ is tied in very tightly with Android and Chrome already. Twitter is going to be built into Apple's iOS 5. Practice director Dan Shey is also quoted saying, “The interesting aspect in Apple’s and Twitter’s partnership is how it can provide iPhone users with a verifiable social identity for websites and apps. That gives developers a lot of scope to innovate in areas such as authentication, personalization and advertising. It’s a hint of things to come.

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