CNET Top 5
Facebook flopsFacebook has experienced meteoric success worthy of a Hollywood movie, but they've had plenty of failures along the way.
Facebook. You love it. You hate it. ItÃ?s complicated. But in spite of the wild popularity of Facebook, I kinda feel bad for them. Aside from their disastrous IPO, this company has released more dud products over the past few years than anyone I can think of. I'm Donald Bell, and in today's show I'm here to refresh your memory with my list of the Top 5 Facebook product flops. Features that set out to change the world, but didn't. Starting things off at #5: Facebook Lite. This was a stripped down version of Facebook that was engineered to load more quickly for users on slow connections or slow hardware. They tossed out the apps and games and decluttered the navigation. Oh, and they also tossed out a bunch of those annoying Flash-based ads on the sidebar. But those were the crazy pre-iPO days of 2009. Turns out that catering to poor people and serving less ads wasn't a project worth keeping around. After less than a year, Facebook Lite got switched off. At #4: Facebook Questions. With 1 billion users at your disposal, why not put them to work solving life's great questions? Launched in 2010 and killed off in 2012, Facebook Questions gave users a way to poll friends for answers to questions like, where's the best pizza in Portland, or which Planet of the Apes sequel is the best, or Where the hell did Facebook Questions go? It was supposed to be a fatal blow to Yahoo Answers, but instead it just withered away. At #3, the Ticker! Remember the Newsfeed Ticker? In 2011 Facebook did a major overhaul of their newsfeed and gave us a terrifying and very annoying little window onto all of our friends likes and shares and comments. It was like peering into the Matrix and seeing the neurotic soul of Facebook for what it really was. People HATED that thing, and Facebook quickly saw the error of their ways and gave you an option to hide it. Coming in at #2: Facebook Deals. As if taking on Google with Facebook Messages wasn't enough, Zuckerberg had the huevos to take on Groupon and Living Social too. And I have to admit, it seemed like a good idea. Who better than Facebook to know where you live, what you like, and where you like to travel. But maybe it was a little too perfect not to be creepy. After four months, Google Deals got slashed. Now before we get to #1, let's stop picking on Facebook for a minute. You know another Internet giant who makes a ton of mistakes? Google. Here are my favorite 5 Google Flops from last year, all of which are really just as embarrassing. That said, at least Google has that whole "Don't be evil." mission statement. Facebook could have used that to prevent them from thinking up #1: Beacon. Hey, here's an idea. Let's make it so that Facebook can keep track of the sites you browse outside of Facebook so that it can share that information with all of your friends. What could go wrong? Not creepy at all . The idea was such an affront to privacy that it resulted in a class action lawsuit and even Mark Zuckerberg later admitted it was a mistake - which is not to say that he won't try again. So there you have it, five ideas launched by the king of the social networks that wound up right in the gutter. For more Top 5s like this, head over to Top 5.CNET.com. I'm Donald Bell, thanks for watching.