Facebook Is Only Warming Up - InformationWeek
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10/26/2007
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Stephen Wellman
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Facebook Is Only Warming Up

This was Facebook's week. The golden child of Web 2.0 scored a $240 investment deal from Microsoft, launched a new mobile application for the BlackBerry, and was even rumored to hav

This was Facebook's week. The golden child of Web 2.0 scored a $240 investment deal from Microsoft, launched a new mobile application for the BlackBerry, and was even rumored to have closed two more investments from hedge funds worth an additional $500 million. Can Facebook do no wrong?Fake Steve Jobs nailed Facebook's coups this week:

Main reason Beastmaster loves Facebook is because they've created a walled garden where Google can't play. Anything that screws up Google is music to Beastmaster's ears.

Basically, little Faceberg made himself valuable by putting himself in the middle of the crossfire between two giants that hate each other. Nice move, Faceberg. I must admit it. You're no Jobso, but you're damn close.

A few months ago I argued that Facebook had the potential to become the remote control of the Web. Since then it's become apparent to both Google and Microsoft that the future of their online businesses could be determined by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, you're kingmaker, at least for now. Savor it.

In the spirit of Facebook's amazing week, I thought I'd look at some other ways in which Facebook has taken off in recent weeks.

One early Web 2.0 property, Meetup.com, is quickly moving over completely to Facebook. I used to track Meetups on its site, now I use Facebook to keep track of Meetup event. I suspect that many community and events sites like Meetup will soon function primarily through Facebook, with their corporate site as a backup. I also expect to see ticketing sites soon make their way to FB-land.

Facebook isn't just sweeping the college student crowd and wanna-be college students in the professional classes. It's also becoming a major player in politics. Facebook is becoming a political tool, with partisans pushing their candidates and pet issues on all their friends.

Unlike traditional sites, Facebook has an uncanny ability to mashup the serious and the silly aspects of everything it touches. One example of Facebook's ability to mashup politics and pop culture comes from comedian and mock presidential candidate Stephen Colbert. Colbert tapped the power of Facebook to signup over one million supporters for his "campaign" for the White House. Sure Colbert is a popular comedian with a big media following, but snagging one million opt-ins in nine days is impressive, no matter how you slice it.

Despite Facebook's continued growth, one area where I have been disappointed with the platform is business applications. While Facebook continues to gain more professional users, challenging LinkedIn for the professional networking market, there just aren't very many business applications on Facebook. Sure, I enjoy an invite to become Zombie or a Vampire as much as the next person, but, maybe someone could make some useful applications (other than just networking and Meetup). Is that too much to ask?

What do you think? Did Facebook prove that it's invincible this week? Have you seen Facebook conquer even more of the Web? Or will Facebook get a big bucket of cold ice water once the hype fades?

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