Facebook's colonization of the Web gains steam

With the new features announced yesterday at F8, Facebook is poised to cast a bigger shadow over the Internet of people and things.

Facebook CTO Bret Taylor says at F8 that the main goal for Open Graph is to keep things simple.
Facebook CTO Bret Taylor says at F8 that the main goal for Open Graph is to keep things simple. James Martin/CNET

About a year ago I wrote about Facebook's growing dominance of the social Web casting a huge shadow over the Internet of people. At that time the service had 500 million users. In his F8 keynote yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg said that as many as 500 million people used Facebook in a single day, with the total Facebook tribe approaching 800 million.

According to Experian Hitwise, Facebook had a 10 percent share of Internet visits in the U.S. for the week ending Sept. 17, followed by Google at 7 percent. Among social networks, Facebook garnered more than 65 percent share of visits, compared with YouTube at 19.5 percent for the same time period.

With the new features announced yesterday at F8, Facebook is poised to cast a bigger shadow over the Internet of people and things.

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The new version of the Open Graph platform will allow developers to create apps that connect people to "anything you want in anyway you want," Zuckerberg said. "You don't have to like a book, you can just read a book."

With the new Open Graph and other features, Facebook is not only capturing the data of your life and delivering new kinds of social interactions and experiences on line, but also deeply entangling (in the quantum sense, one object cannot be fully described without considering the others) a large portion of humans on the planet in its service.

Zuckerberg and team are moving as fast as they can to make Facebook a place where people can live online, with every application social and tied into Facebook's matrix, or platform. "The next five years are going to be defined by the apps and depth of engagement," Zuckerberg told the F8 crowd.

"All those activities people perform with these apps -- listening to a Bjork tune, reading about same-sex marriage laws, cooking Arroz con Pollo, running four miles, donating to Amnesty International -- will be stored permanently and made accessible (if the user allows it) on a greatly enhanced profile page that will essentially become a remote-control autobiography," wrote Wired's Steven Levy.

With Facebook's new kinds of apps, users can allow others to see what music they listen to and to view and their listening history, and join them in listening to a song, which is also great for the music services looking to sign up new paying subscribers.

Facebook's ongoing colonization of the Web, by continuing to innovate and offer more engaging services to its substantial base of users, will result in an increase of its share of visits, visitors, time spent on the service, and revenue. A more than $100 billion valuation is not out of the question.

Of course, any user is free to leave the Facebook world, and seek a home elsewhere--such as with Google+ or on other social platforms. But leaving the colony, where a person has spent "many months or years curating the stories of their life and sharing them on Facebook's platform," as Zuckerberg described his vision for the future, will become increasingly difficult as their Facebook interactions and entanglements grow more dense.

This story originally appeared on TechTalk at CBSNews.com.

 

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