It seems I’ve been unaware of the little revolution that has been unfolding since May 24th. Before that, facebook was yet another social network popular mostly in the US. On that date, facebook opened up their API and made it possible for people to integrate their 3rd party services into facebook. Marc Andreesen explained the concept in a lengthy post that is well worth reading around mid June. This too went unnoticed by me. To my defense, I was on vacation first half of June and maybe a bit less connected than I usually am.
About two weeks ago, my neighbour, friend & colleague Christian del Rosso, invited me to facebook. He must have noticed that I didn’t catch up his earlier link to Marc Andreesen’s article. So I dutifully signed up not expecting much of it but somewhat curious to find out why facebook was being mentioned a lot lately. I’m already on linkedin and del.icio.us so I thought I was pretty well covered in this web 2.0 thing. Apparently not.
In the past two weeks, I found several people I know that recently created accounts on facebook. Facebook has the notion of networks and groups and I’m in several of those now, all rapidly growing. Finally in the last few days I started exploring facebook a bit more in depth and doing things like updating my profile, exploring other people’s profiles, and finally figuring out that there’s a shitload of cool applications that integrate into facebook. The proverbial penny dropped only a few days ago.
I’m on iLike, mytravelmap and flixster now. Also I have hooked up my blog and del.icio.us to facebook and of course installed the chuck norris fact generator. All very fun toys. The first three I would probably never have signed up for seperately.
The only thing that I don’t like is that openid is not part of facebook. That’s a pitty, because I believe the fully decentralized mash ups enabled by openid are the future. Ultimately, facebook is another vertical and the waiting is just for who will buy these guys (and for how much). It seems that .com bubble 2.0 is now well underway.
It would seem from the above that facebook is perfect. Of course it isn’t. I’ve encountered many issues so far: performance problems; parts of the site not working; strange errors and failing ajax stuff. Also I noticed that the entire thing seems to be written in php. That could give rise to some worries related to e.g. security and scalability. Opening it up to basically anybody who cares to develop 3rd party stuff does not exactly make it better.