Facebook: The social Web utility company

The suspense is nearly over. In about an hour, Facebook will lift the veil on its plans to turn its social networking site into a platform that its makers hope becomes a pervasive ecosystem.

The suspense is nearly over. In about an hour, Facebook will lift the veil on its plans to turn its social networking site into a platform that its makers hope becomes a pervasive ecosystem. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls this latest interation of the service a “social utility,” which is an apt term.


It’s a utility in terms of a tool for the 24 million Facebook users, but it also reflects Facebook’s desire to become a utility, like an power company, in which potentially billions of people use the service in their personal and professional lives. Facebook, MySpace, and other growing colonies of linked communities with semi-permeable walls represent the rise of the social Web and Web utility companies.

Zuckerberg describes the Facebook core function that the new third-party applications can tap into as a "social graph," the network of connections and relationships between people on the service.

At the Facebook f8 event in San Francisco today, 65 developers will be showing applications built on the Facebook Platform. For example, Facebook and Amazon.com developed a “Book Reviews” applications that lets Facebookers write and show book reviews on their profile pages, and add Amazon 'Buy' buttons.

Facebook also mashes up with Microsoft’s Popfly and with Slide’s SkinFlix for personalizing video clips with skins (see below).


iLike (www.iLike.com) will demonstrate a social music application that lets Facebook users add music to their profiles, discover new music, and learn about upcoming concerts and which of their friends are attending.

Other developers at at the Facebook f8 launch include:

30 Boxes; All Widgets, LLC; Amazon.com; Attendio; Bitnik; Blue Nile; Box.net; Bunchball; Channels.com; Chumby Industries; CollegeHumor; Digg, Dogster Inc.; EF Tours; Ether; Fantasy Moguls; FASHION FOR THE PEOPLE; FeedBurner, Inc.; Fliptrack, Inc.; Forbes.com; FORD MODELS; Glimpse.com; HOT or NOT; Jangl; Jaxtr; Jobster; Lending Club; LocalPlatform LLC; Microsoft Corp.; MOG; Mosoto; Obama for America; Oodle; Photobucket, Inc.; Photojojo; Pickspal; Platial; Plum; Project Agape; Prosper.com; QOOP, Inc.; Radar; Rapleaf; Red Bull Energy Drink; RockYou!; Rupture; Scrapblog; Scribd; SideStep, Inc.; Slide; Snapvine, Inc.; SplashCast, Inc.; TERRALEVER; Twitter, Inc.; Uber; uPlayMe; Veoh Networks, Inc.; viagogo; VIRGIN MOBIL USA; Warner Bros. Records; Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive; Widgetbox; and YackPack.

Facebook Stats (Source: Facebook)

General Growth • More than 24 million active users • More than 100,000 new registrations per day since Jan. 2007 • An average of 3 percent weekly growth since Jan. 2007 • Active users have doubled since Facebook expanded registration in Sept. 2006 User Demographics • Over 47,000 regional, work-related, collegiate, and high school networks • More than half of Facebook users are outside of college • The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years old and older • Maintain 85 percent market share of 4-year U.S. universities User Engagement • Sixth-most trafficked site in the United States* • More than 40 billion page views per month in May 2007 • More than half of active users return daily • People spend an average of 20 minutes on the site daily* Applications • No. 1 photo sharing application on the web* • Photo application draws more than twice as much traffic as the next three sites combined* • More than 1.8 billion photos on the site • More than 6 million active user groups on the site International Growth • Canada has the most users outside of the United States, with more than 2.5 million active users • The U.K. is the third largest country with more than 1.4 million active users • Remaining Top 10 countries in order of active users (outside of the U.S., Canada and UK): Norway, Australia, South Africa, Lebanon, Egypt, Sweden and India

More to come following the Zuckerman keynote and the post game press conference...

See also: GigaOm