Recent Facebook Changes Finally Confirmed: Facebook Is a Social OS
A few days after Google+ beta-launched, Facebook announced some "awesome" new features, and many were disappointed when they came out with video chat through a Skype-integration. I saw the "awesome" thing not in the feature, but in the confirmation of their strategy: to integrate successful services and make them more social. Now, this strategy really comes to life: they integrate Spotify and a dozen other music services, as well als they integrate Hulu, and more TV&movies will definately follow soon. Many people are so excited about all this and new features like "timeline" that they forget to see what lies behind all this: A new generation of operating systems has come to life.
A commenter on TechCrunch described it as a trend that web companies integrate Facebook on their sites, see success, then integrate their services on Facebook - and i can totally agree with this analysis. Zuck kept going on about how all future web services will be built around people instead of being designed around content, products or other "things". And of course this had to lead to a Facebook platform strategy, where they wouldn't build everything single-handedly by themselves.
What does that mean? It means that similar to Android or iOS, even similar to Windows, Facebook offers a framework that delivers certain capabilities to developers or anyone who wants to offer a digital service. Traditional operating systems (and I see Android, iOS as "traditional" like Windows) offer technical capabilities and a certain reach, a user base that can be targeted through their operating systems. They give you certain opportunities in user interfaces, software to use, databases to be integrated etc.
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When you compare all this with Facebook, it is basically the same: The only difference is that they are offering social capabilities on top of a technical framework and a huge audience of 800 million. This operating system integrates you and your friends, and it is the only one that currently is able to instantly let you derive value from the online connections of your users.