Once upon a time, there were web pages. Now, pets are interconnected socially and everything is a web app. Apps are evolving. Today we have apps, but tomorrow, when evolution reaches forward, they become more than that. They become whole through integration, through real-time. Half of the time the web will be experienced by you, the other half, together with others.
The Social Web is a new way to experience websites, applications, music, and other media socially, together with other people, in different real-world places but connected through technology, in sync. Facebook made some huge announcements today at their F8 developer’s platform, announcements that will propel the world of social experiences forward. With Facebook’s new integration with Spotify, Netflix and a ton of other apps, we’re seeing this plan in motion.
Facebook has announced that users will be invited to listen to music together through Spotify, to watch a video together through Netflix and Hulu, and to even do common activities together, such as cooking food or going for a run in the park at the same time, perhaps not literally, but through a variety of available apps that can now tie into Facebook. Through APIs, your Facebook friends can receive real-time notifications and let them experience whatever functionality the apps deliver.
Facebook has referred to it as real time serendipity, and discovery does play a role in it, but the overall experience of being integrated and being able to do things together will surpass discovery and will greatly influence the way things are done.
If you consider technology today, we have close to a billion different broadband connections and more than half a billion speedy wireless connections. These numbers continue to grow. Sure, sometimes wireless networks can be poor, but if you put that aside, we have constant connectivity. Whether it’s an iPhone, an iPad, a Macbook Air (or a PC or Android device), it doesn’t matter, people are always connected. More connectivity creates opportunity, an opportunity to be involved in a different kind of Internet experience, one that’s much more immersive and interactive. It’s that seamless connection that allows us to create and experience the Social Web. Seamless connectivity has allowed us to create many of our offline behaviours online – interactions play a big role in that. When considering the evolution of applications and services, they will not only be social and mobile, but they will need to be engaging and immediate.
As Facebook begins to rollout the new real-time social features, it’s predictable that people may feel awkward at first. Yeah, it will be different. It will make some people uncomfortable. It will evolve, there will be new social norms, certain etiquette to be followed, and like it or not, media will ascend and will be experienced in a new way.
Facebook has made a huge change and hundreds of millions of people will be affected. Given the drastic and evolutionary changes, it will feel like an entirely new experience, but Facebook could change the world in a big way. Again.