Yesterday Facebook unveiled their Skype-powered video calling product and suddenly made social media a very interesting space.
Right away consumers started to make comparisons with Google+ ‘Hangouts’ which enables video group chat vis-a-vis Facebook’s new one-to-one video chat feature.
As of last week, I thought that Facebook should be worried about Google’s ambitious new social platform. But after yesterday’s announcement (and a sneek preview of the new product) I think it’s safe to conclude that Facebook still rules social media and will continue to do so for these 4 reasons:
750 Million Pairs of Eyeballs
As Mark Zuckerberg pointed out yesterday, very few people have had the opportunity to play with Google + let alone fully understand how it will impact the larger social media scene. Regular folks (non-techies that is) appear to be less excited about ‘another social site‘. As someone so eloquently put it, “What! Another thing to do?”
Meanwhile Facebook already has 750 million eyeballs (and growing). There is every indication that social sharing through Facebook will continue to grow at a mind-boggling rate. It makes no business sense to leave the multitudes in search of a few.
You are already on Facebook. You’ve invested a lot of time over the past few years building relationships with friends, fans or both.
Are you planning to ask these same friends to connect with you on a different platform? Is there value in that? Even if you do, will the nature of your relationship be enhanced if you migrate to different ‘circles’? Isn’t it more useful to take advantage of Facebook’s new products to strengthen those relationships. I know I will.
Facebook is everywhere.
When you’re signed on, other participating websites will display information, products and services that are tailored specifically to your interests without you having to sign in on those sites.
Also the ‘Like’ button has been ‘the’ most sought-after social currency, appearing everywhere on the internet for any subject or content type. This concept known as Facebook’s ‘Open Graph‘ is compelling and powerful. It is what advertisers use to understand and predict user behavior and hence target them with highly customized ad messages.
People are saying that Google’s +1 is designed to do the same thing that the ‘Like’ button does – that we will start to see brands displaying their +1 score in the same way they display how many people ‘Like’ them.
Even if that happens, I honestly do not think that +1 will enjoy the same ubiquity, affinity and trust that the ‘Like’ button does. I also doubt that it will become as seductive for advertisers and business brands as its formidable rival.
Free and Easy
For the amount of user interaction that Facebook continues to provide, it amazes me that their service is still free.
Of course Google+ Hangouts, which enables group video chat is also free. (By the way Facebook has not ruled out that they may continue to develop their video chat feature but for now they believe that users get more value from one-to-one interactions than group interactions).
We were also told yesterday that the newly introduced Facebook features will be extremely easy to use.
Video chat will not require users to have a Skype account (in fact Facebook users will be using Skype anonymously).They will also be able to call their friends with minimal set up (the demo showed a plugin that takes only a few seconds to install).
At this point the social web is looking more and more interesting as Google and Facebook rival each other to produce the best user experience. While it’s still very early to tell where these new products (on both sides) will go, I believe that consumers are the real winners in this scenario. But in the long run I’m putting my money on Facebook.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Facebook is still king?
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