Posts tagged: Facebook

SmackDown Headliner – Google VS Facebook

By , June 23, 2009 12:26 pm
Me at 7, with bigger guns

Me at 7, with bigger guns

I haven’t watched WWF, or WWE, or Friday Night Smackdown since I was a kid (see right), but after reading Wired magazine’s article on Google vs. Facebook, I could not help but think about, in my opinion, the greatest wrestling match of all time.  This battle pitted the up and coming, wildly popular, eccentric and electric young superstar against the stalwart, power punching, mega-myth champion of the world.  Of course, I’m talking about the headliner at WrestleMania 6 where the Heavy Weight Champion of the World Hulk Hogan fought the Intercontinental Champ, The Ulllttiiimmmatteeeee Warrrrrioorrrrrrr!

Champion against champion, title for title, that’s what it’s all about.

Google and Facebook are waging their own war on shaping what the Internet’s future will look like.  They both have an underlying mission to share information, but their core approaches and visions of the web are very different.  Google has historically viewed the web as the great equalizer, the place where information can be accessed by anyone and everyone, and that information can be efficiently found by harnessing the power of cold, hard algorithms.  Facebook sees the web not as the source of information per say, but rather as the medium for which people can share information across their social net.  Instead of relying on complex math necessarily, Facebook puts the power of human sharing in the forefront of spreading information.

Both of these approaches have their place on the web.  What good is a platform to share information easily from the people that matter most if the people that matter the most can’t find the information in the first place, and vice verse?  In my mind, the bigger challenges lie in front of Facebook, because the future of sourcing information from hundreds of friends (if not thousands for the Facebook junkies “power users”) will come down to powerful ranking, grouping, sorting, and prioritizing algorithms, a space that Google has done very well in.

“So wha’cha gonna do brother … when the Hulkster (read as Google) comes for youuuu (read as Facebook)!”  Well, Facebook has been able to pull some ex-Googlers into their shop, to a tune of nearly 9% of their staff, and they have a virtual lock on the social network space (although I begin to worry about the hipness of it when my parent’s generation is “friending” me).  As difficult as it may seem, they may be putting together the pieces and the relationships to really challenge Google’s web dominance.  And maybe, just maybe, they’ll have enough to gorilla slam the powerhouse, avoid the leg-drop, and big splash their way to top, just like the greatest character wrestler of all time was able to do.  R.I.P. The Ultimate Warrior.

Bonus Footage:  Top Ultimate Warrior Promos Ever

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Recommendations on Facebook?

By , May 17, 2009 12:51 pm

Has Facebook finally gotten it?  With the amount of personal data and interactions that they are able to collect, it should be a no-brainer for them to work on a recommendation framework.  With the advent of user-generated content, we are in information over-load at this point (just look at how many unread emails you have, or how many article feeds you end up ignoring).  The next big move needs to be a way to sort through all of this information and bubble up things that we care about as individuals.

Facebook is in a great place to do this because of their unique position in that people see a ton of value in declaring a lot about themselves over their platform (maybe a bit too much when you are “no longer in a relationship” – broken heart).   The popular a/s/l (age, sex, location) back in the day in AOL chat rooms was one of the first forms of public declaration on the web and this basic desire/need to share information about ourselves has not changed as the web has evolved.  Facebook has created a place where people want to do this, and that could be the most important and valuable thing they have to offer.

I recently met with some folks at Yahoo and noted a particularly interesting thing about users inputting accurate information.  There are tens of thousands registered users at Yahoo that have the zip code 12345.  Now the funny thing about this zip code is that it is for a small county in New York where there are 10 registered business and way less than 10,000 inhabitants!  A Yahoo user doesn’t care to share where they live because there is no good, compelling reason to do it, while a Facebook user wants to share that information because it is valuable to their social network.  I wonder how many people on Yahoo live in 90210.  (On a side note, I found this information on Wolfram Alpha which is a statistical gold mine for anyone who loves numbers.)

Since Facebook has already gotten people to buy into sharing their information, they would have to be crazy not to work with this information to provide better services, including personalized recommendations.  But alas, it appears that this feature is just a way to condense duplicate posts so users can’t spam their friends newsfeeds.  Another tease.  It’s pretty sad to say that the best analysis of online social interactions, and the most entertaining, has been Dateline NBC’s To Catch a Predator.  Yea, I’m sure you were just there to help with some homework.

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