If you haven’t been over to TechMeme (still my favorite tech news site) in the past two weeks you might have missed that I’m not the only one talking about Facebook.
Since I’m now the official “newest shiny object reporter” I was asking myself “what’s the next shiny object that will get me to switch my attention away from Facebook?”
Could it come from LinkedIn? Nah, they aren’t even playing the same game anymore. Their management team doesn’t understand developers, doesn’t have the cool culture or cool app platform that Facebook has, and it’s doubtful they’ll regain the high ground in the identity space. Plaxo? Nah, not a cool brand name and their shot is to sit down with Mark Zuckerberg and become the “Switzerland” for your Facebook data. Actually that’d be pretty brilliant for both Facebook and Plaxo to do, the new Plaxo really is a nice way to get your contact data from one app (Outlook) to the next (I’d like to move my contacts into Facebook and back out to Outlook again). Don’t ignore Plaxo, though, lots of people have been praising it lately for its moves into OpenID.
Is it Microsoft? Doubtful. Most of us still don’t really like the idea of Bill Gates storing all of our contact data and, anyway, even the coolest thing at Microsoft (Xbox) is having quality troubles, so not likely. Could Ray Ozzie pull a rabbit out of his hat? Maybe, but doubtful. There’s too much inertia at Microsoft that would keep them from building the kind of platform that would get me to shut up about Facebook.
Yahoo? Maybe, especially if Jerry stays focused on it. But they already have 250 million users on their email. That’s going to prove just as difficult a thing to deal with for Yahoo as it is for Microsoft. In other words, they’ll probably do something to make their users happy, but not disruptive enough to get me to shut up about Facebook.
So, what in the industry are we all forgetting about? Who has a platform that, if reengineered could all of a sudden pop up and make us all shut up about Facebook?
If you live in Brazil you know what it is. The thing I’m thinking about has a monopoly share of the social networking market in Brazil.
“Scoble, stop teasing me, what is it?”
Now, hear me out. I know Orkut is ugly. It doesn’t look like a Facebook killer. I agree. I signed in again this week just to see if anything is happening there. It’s not yet. But all the basics are there.
So, what kind of wine was I drinking to come up with this long rant? Some good Washington stuff (Reininger). But don’t hold that against me. Heheh.
Anyway, why could Orkut come back and get us all to shut up about Facebook? Do you remember who owns Orkut? Yeah, those evil kids over at Google.
Now, why is that important? Well, for one, most of the early adopters I know are on Gmail. I’m on it too, even though I keep my crusty old Hotmail account. Google has the best mobile app on my mobile phone too. Maps, if you’re on the iPhone, but if you’re on Nokia the Mobile Google app suite is really great. Lots of you, I know, are on iGoogle, which looks a little bit like Facebook’s profile page. Lots of you are using other things from Google. Picasa, for instance. Or customized Google searches. Or Google Reader. All of which would really benefit from having a Google Identity System.
So, could Google redesign Orkut, make it nice looking and functional (one of Facebook’s greatest attributes) which would appeal to people like me who are looking for the next
shiny thing to use functional identity system and application delivery platform that gets everyone excited.
I don’t see anyone else who could get us all to shut up about Facebook. Do you?