Pondering Facebook, Twitter, Google, Open Standards And The Future Of The Web
3 min read

Pondering Facebook, Twitter, Google, Open Standards And The Future Of The Web

I’ve read a bunch of interesting observations the last several days that have me pondering the future of the web — I’ve been trying to put it into a coherent blog post, but as this is my third draft and it still hasn’t gelled, I’m going to try thinking out loud. See if you can connect the dots.

From Robert Scoble:

Loic Le Meur did a little test with me a couple of weeks ago. He listed his Le Web conference on both Facebook and Upcoming.org. Here’s the Facebook listing. Here’s the Upcoming.org one.

The Facebook one can’t be seen if you don’t have a Facebook account. It’s NOT open to the public Web. Google’s spiders CAN NOT REACH IT.

He put both listings up at exactly the same time and did no invites, nothing. Just let people find these listings on their own.

The Facebook one is NOT available to the Web. It has 467 people who’ve accepted it. The Upcoming.org one IS available to Google and the Web. It has 101 people on it.

From Fred Wilson:

Facebook provides an incredibly valuable service to my three children. The other day I saw my oldest daughter get an invite to a party on Facebook, she accepted it, and then went to look at her accepted invite page. It was her social calendar, every party she plans to attend in the next two months is there. She noticed she had another event that night and then switched her acceptance to tentative. She uses Facebook the way I use Outlook. Who cares if she can port her social graph out of Facebook? It’s not going to happen anytime soon because the social context and data FLOW through Facebook is providing enormous value to her and her friends.

From Marshall Kirkpatrick:

Facebook and MySpace have replaced email for a substantial number of young people. Facebook, though, appears to believe that some things are better off not discussed in conversations between its members.

We’ve found two instances of words that will get a Facebook message blocked and we presume there are others. The company says it’s spam control, but it seems creepy to us.

From Howard Lindzon (via Twitter):

Please do not send me direct messages on twitter. my email address is on my blog. Twitter rarely works and I only check once a day.

Some observations:

  • Google is a gateway to the WHOLE web, while Facebook is a gateway to what’s inside Facebook
  • Most people probably assume that if they can’t find something in Google, then it doesn’t exist online
  • A teenager’s friends may ALL be on Facebook, but EVERYONE who uses the internet (including those teenagers) has an email address
  • Your email belongs to you, but Facebook messages belong to Facebook

When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.

  • Email delivery generally is not dependent on a single service (although a given address may be dependent on a single email server), while delivery of Twitter direct messages and Facebook messages is dependent entirely and exclusively on those services
  • Google CEO Eric Schmit has wondered in the past why some companies are still “betting against the internet

The web is made possible by open, interoperable standards for content and communication, e.g. http, HTML, hyperlink, SMTP, etc. — will the future of the web be based on closed, proprietary standards for content and communication?

No company can touch Google’s ability to monetize the use of the open web — the more people use the web, the more money Google makes. Can Facebook compete with Google by eschewing the open web and open standards? Or is Facebook betting against the internet?


Email me if you figure it out.