Internet trends and Web 2.0 Summit

The Web 2.0 Summit has just happened and there were many great speakers with a lot of interesting things to say.
To name a few, Mark Pincus CEO of Zynga, Eric Schmidt CEO of Google, Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook, Carol Bartz CEO of Yahoo!, Robin Li CEO of Baidu, etc.
To see their interviews brilliantly led by John Battelle, go to the O’Really Media Channel and watch those videos.

And below the presentation of Mary Meeker from Morgan Stanley on Internet trends:

Internet Trends Presentation

Facebook the platform

Facebook is growing at a fast pace and Hitwise says that now Facebook is the Most Popular U.S. Site (March 2010).  Not only people visit Facebook a lot, they spend a lot of time there as well, see for example the blog post as SearchEngine Land Facebook Passes Google In “Time Spent,” What Does It Mean?.

Facebook is a walled garden, the information is not accessible if you are not a member of this social network and search engines like Google cannot harvest information contained in this ever growing website.  In 2008 Facebook introduced Facebook Connect as the next iteration of Facebook Platform that allows users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site. This will now enable third party websites to implement and offer even more features of Facebook Platform off of Facebook – similar to features available to third party applications today on Facebook.

This means that if you visit a website like the New York Times, the website can offer you personalized news based on data extracted from your Facebook account and you, for example, can see whether some of your friends Liked articles there. That’s a strong proposition. And going forward we can expect targeted ads based on the information we feed into the Facebook social network. Actually we do not really need to add a lot of information, our friends or better, the mix of our friends pretty much identify a person.

While Google targets ads based on our search intent, and additional information such as location, Facebook use our social network and the information we  and our friends share.

In this picture enters Microsoft.  In 2007 Microsoft has paid $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. As part of the deal, Bing powers Facebook search and ads coming from Microsoft are also served there. And now, the next step in this collaboration is the announcement of the social search feature of Bing in collaboration with Facebook.
Bing’s new social search features arrive today (2 November 2010). For example,  if you do a search on Bing, it will try to recognize your Facebook account through instant personalization, and you will automatically start to see links that your friends have “liked.”  The example Microsoft gives is if you are searching for San Francisco steak houses and one of your friends liked Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco, that would appear as a result along with the name of your friend.

That’s a big deal and Google apparently is not happy and the competition heats up. Facebook does not allow Google to crawl its data, however Facebook accesses Google’s (or its users’ data) when it get the contacts through the Gmail import function. See the Wired article Google Calls Out Facebook’s Data Hypocrisy, Blocks Gmail Import (11 November 2010) and TechCrunch post Google To Facebook: You Can’t Import Our User Data Without Reciprocity.

A very good book I recommend to read on Facebook is The Facebook Effect, by David Kirkpatrick.

Below a video on Bing-Facebook search: