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What Facebook Will Look Like by 2024

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Facebook-2024

Online empires come and go. At one time, Alta Vista was the top search engine and Netscape was the only web browser. Both are now gone. Will the same happen to Facebook?

It’s unlikely the company could completely exit the stage. However, the Facebook of 2024 will look very different from today’s version. Primarily, the company will continue to morph from a social network to a more traditional media company.

Several macro trends will likely drive that transformation, including the ascendance of smaller private networks, emerging platforms and growth in developing countries.

Adapting to Mobile

The switch from desktop to mobile appears to have changed how people behave on social media, or at least, how they define it.

A few years ago, the conventional wisdom was that young people were exhibitionists at heart who had no reservations about sharing their data with the world. Mobile changed that. When you sit down at your computer to write, you might expect your words and actions to be seen by the world. On mobile, though, we’re used to sending messages only to our closest friends and family. Snapchat’s success bolstered that view.

In 2014, the narrative has evolved. Teens/mobile users are now perceived as fiercely protective of their privacy.

Facebook has become a teen’s version of LinkedIn — a network you have to join to participate in the wider world, but a space that commands little attention. As research has shown, twenty-somethings use Facebook a lot more than teens, and younger teens use it less than older teens.

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged, Snapchat has addressed a previously unstated need in the marketplace for more private social media interactions. Zuckerberg reportedly made a $3 billion unsuccessful bid for Snapchat after Facebook’s would-be Snapchat killer, Poke, failed to gain traction.

Facebook, which was caught flat-footed by the mobile revolution, has been proactively avoided falling behind again. Step one: Messenger, a mobile app released in August 2011. From the start, Messenger was too clunky to be considered a substitute for texting. And if someone wasn’t your Facebook friend, you couldn’t message him or her. Facebook listened and adapted, though. The company addressed this issue late last year, raising the question: What is Facebook if not a means to connect you to your Facebook friends?

Expect the question of “What is Facebook?” to linger. Once, the site stood for permanence and authenticity. Now the company is ready to let users go anonymous on some new Facebook-branded apps. As Zuckerberg noted on his fourth quarter earnings call, the strategy for 2014 is more apps, a kind of divide-and-conquer strategy for mobile that will provide disparate experiences, all brought you by Facebook.

The first new step in this direction is Paper, a news aggregation app that the company introduced Monday, a day before its 10-year anniversary.

The Next 10 Years

Looking ahead over the next few years, most envision a continued migration from desktop to phones and tablets. eMarketer predicts that, by 2017, some 2.5 billion people will have smartphones, versus 1.75 billion today.

Facebook will behave like a media company, releasing apps with the Facebook imprimatur to address new needs in the market.

Such needs will likely spread beyond phones and tablets and into wearable computing. Facebook is already on Google Glass. If smartwatches catch on, Facebook will want to be a forerunner as well.

Facebook is a global company, though, and can’t just cater its services to the rich. In June, I spoke with Facebook VP of Global Marketing Solutions, who told me the company was putting a lot of focus on “the next billion,” customers who still use feature phones and live in developing countries.

Last July, Facebook announced its Facebook For Every Phone app had hit 100 million users. To reach the other 2.5 billion consumers around the world who will have feature phones in 2017, the company will continue to offer that stripped-down experience.

In other words, because of the growth of new mobile platforms and its growing presence in the developing world, Facebook will package in many different forms.

A Media Company

In its first 10 years, Facebook’s primary appeal was its user base. There was really no other reason to go on Facebook except to see your friends. Over the next decade, as it competes with Twitter, Google+ and a host of up-and-coming apps, Facebook will have to offer something more.

One possibility is content creation. While the idea of Facebook-produced TV shows may seem far-fetched, who would have guessed Amazon would be doing the same? That’s why, although Facebook denies it, the company’s move into news aggregation has made such a scenario more plausible.

After all, now that Facebook has hired editors, why not writers and, eventually, actors? The company is already indirectly subsidizing actors and public figures who use the social network to reach out to their fans.

If such content creation seems familiar, look no further than Yahoo. With an aging demo but huge reach, Facebook could easily become the Yahoo of the late teens/early 20s set. Maybe sooner than that. Facebook wouldn’t love the comparison, of course, but things could be worse. Despite its troubles, Yahoo is still powerful and viable.

On the other hand, Facebook could do everything right and add another billion or so customers, making it more of a counterbalance against Apple, Google and Amazon. In such a scenario, Facebook probably wouldn’t have any choice but to expand into hardware and content to make its ecosystem viable. Since consumer electronics ecosystems aren’t mutually exclusive — most people participate in Google’s and Apple’s to some degree these days — it will be harder to differentiate oneself.

For the average user, then, Facebook wouldn’t have much different to offer, except maybe for its content. Meanwhile its huge user base will be both a selling point and an obstacle.

Much will be gained in such a scenario, but something will be lost, too. Just as Google — another company that makes most of its money from advertising — is becoming less synonymous with “search engine” and more with “huge and scary media company,” Facebook will shed its identity as a social network. That’s a contrast from how many see Facebook today, but not longer hugely off base.

 

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INSTAGRAM LAUNCHES A LITE APP FOR LOW-END ANDROID DEVICES

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Instagram has released a lightweight version of its Android app that should be easier to install and browse on devices short on storage space and on spotty connections.

TechCrunch notes that the new app, which weighs in at just 573KB, is 1/55th the size of the original app at 33MB. Naturally, you’ll find it a little lighter on functionality too: there’s no messaging or the ability to upload videos right now.

The launch is part of Facebook’s approach to reaching the next billion people who will come online for the first time in developing countries, mostly using low-cost mobile devices with limited access to connectivity and data.

Making its apps more easier to download and perform well on low-end devices is key to growing its user base around the world. To that end, Facebook made Lite versions of its apps for its social network and Messenger available years ago. Twitter has one too, and Google recently launched an optimized version of Android – complete with a suite of its essential apps – to address these needs in emerging markets.

Instagram’s been on a roll lately. It added 300 million users in a little over a year to reach 1 billion last week, and has tacked on loads more features to its service recently, including group video calls, support for longer videos in what it’s calling IGTV, tools for curating saved posts, and improving discovery.

 

 

 

Source: The NextWeb

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SCAMMERS ABUSE MULTILINGUAL DOMAIN NAMES

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Cyber-criminals are abusing multilingual character sets to trick people into visiting phishing websites.

The non-English characters allow scammers to create “lookalike” sites with domain names almost indistinguishable from legitimate ones.

Farsight Security found scam sites posing as banks, loan advisers and children’s brands Lego and Haribo.

Smartphone users are at greater risk as small screens make lookalikes even harder to spot.

Targeted attack
The Farsight Security report looked at more than 100 million domain names that use non-English character sets – introduced to make the net more familiar and usable for non-English speaking nations – and found about 27% of them had been created by scammers.

It also uncovered more than 8,000 separate characters that could be abused to confuse people.

Farsight founder Paul Vixie, who wrote much of the software underpinning the net’s domain names told the BBC: “Any lower case letter can be represented by as many as 40 different variations.”

And many internationalised versions added just a tiny fleck or mark that was not easy to see.

Eldar Tuvey, founder and head of security company Wandera, said it had also seen an upsurge in phishing domains using different ways of forming characters.

In particular, it had seen an almost doubling of the number of scam domains created using an encoding system called punycode over the past few months.

And phishing gangs were using messages sent via mobile apps to tempt people into clicking on the similar-looking links.

“They are targeting specific groups,” Mr Tuvey said.

And research had established people were three times more likely to fall for a phishing scam presented on their phone.

“To phish someone, you just have to fool them once,” Mr Tuvey said. “Tricking them into installing malware is much more work.”

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INSTAGRAM’S NEW LONG-FORM VIDEO HUB IGTV TAKES ON YOUTUBE

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Prepare to spend a lot more time on Instagram.

The Facebook (FB)-owned platform is rolling out a new hub for long-form, vertical video. Instagram announced the new feature at a press event on Wednesday.

The hub, called IGTV, will live within the regular Instagram app. It will also get its own standalone app in the coming days.

Anyone will be able to post to IGTV, but Instagram users with 10,000 followers or more will be able to post videos up to an hour long. Users with fewer followers can post up to 10 minutes of video. Instagram video posts were previously capped at 60 seconds.

The company has tapped celebrities such as Kim Kardashian West and Selena Gomez who will be among the first to upload longer-form content to their accounts on Wednesday.

In addition to IGTV, CEO Kevin Systrom announced a company milestone: 1 billion monthly active users now use Instagram, up from 800,000 active users in September.

 

instagram igtv kevin systrom

IGTV is reminiscent of Snapchat’s Discover page, which features stories from publishers and creators, and curated posts from itscommunity. Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, launched Discover in 2015 with a number of media partners, including CNN and Buzzfeed. It paid licensing fees to publishers up until recently when it reportedly shifted to an ad-based model only.

“Ads will not be part of IGTV at launch, but we’ll be exploring and test ways to help creators monetize after launch,” a spokesperson told CNNMoney.

Analysts are also comparing IGTV to Google-owned video platform YouTube.

According to media and technology analyst Rich Greenfield of BTIG, Instagram users were already using its Stories feature to link out to YouTube to direct followers to longer-form videos.

instagram igtv
The IGTV hub

“Now, Instagram can keep that in-house, and drive greater engagement and time spent,” Greenfield told CNNMoney. “I think this is a natural evolution from pictures to video, to stories and now to long-form video to capture as much human attention as possible.”

Instagrammers are spending more time than ever looking at photos, videos and memes, the company previously told CNNMoney. Users under the age of 25 now spend more than 32 minutes each day on the platform, while users age 25 and older use the app for more than 24 minutes.

While IGTV may lead people to spend more time on Instagram, Systrom previously promised to roll out a tool that will tally time spent on its app.

“Any time should be positive and intentional,” he tweeted last month.

Source: CNN TECH

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