Facebook saw its valuation skyrocket back in May, when it announced it was
opening up its platform to third-party developers. Except… the Facebook platform
isn’t really open, as Marc Andreessen explained
shortly after its launch. Now, Andreessen’s
Ning and Rupert
Murdoch’s Myspace have both signed on to the new de facto standard
for social networking applications, Google’s Open Social. It does everything
that the Facebook platform does, and a little bit more, and it reaches an order
of magnitude more potential users.
I’m reminded of when Vermont started allowing civil unions for gay couples
– at the time, it was considered a great and brave and controversial thing
to do. Nowadays, civil unions are the cop-out, weak-assed compromise: it’s gay
marriage which is the real issue. Similarly, the Facebook platform has gone
from ahead of the curve to behind the curve pretty much overnight. My guess
is that Facebook will (be forced to) join Open Social sooner rather than later.
Its first-mover advantage has now become a liability.