December 09, 2008

Facebook and Its Partners - What Are They Up To?

By Mona Nomura of Pixel Bits (FriendFeed/Twitter)

If the Internet is like high school, Facebook is like the new kid embraced by the in crowd - just by existing. Despite no monetization track record and a no clear revenue model, Microsoft believes in them - to the tune of 240 million dollars worth of trust. They are also partnered with one of the silent giants,, the CRM database software corporation behind a lot of sites we use.

Facebook has overcome controversial privacy issues, and keeps growing, despite continued complaints about annoying application invitations, an unintuitive redesign, and is still embraced by the public, even with spam issues. Most recently, Facebook made a bold move, penetrating the single log-on realm with Facebook Connect, which initiated a push for the OpenID movement (again).

So... who is Facebook? What makes them so extraordinary? And why are they so loved?

Beyond their popularity, it's the partnerships that concern me most.

Microsoft is one of Facebook's biggest investors. Salesforce and Facebook recently held a conference presenting their future plans. Just yesterday, Salesforce and Google announced they are furthering their partnership. Now I am not anal about privacy - at all. But it is no secret, Facebook is looking to venture into enterprise and I can not help but wonder: What does all this mean to us, the users? Will the partnerships effect us? If so, how?

I attempted researching to find answers, but largely came up empty. In a way, technology news (specifically Social Networking) is like American politics. Unless you know where to look, most of the information is spun, like political rhetoric. Perhaps I am not looking hard enough, but most of my questions remain unanswered.

So I am turning to you, the readers, to help answer these questions. What do you think these various partnerships mean? How do you think it effects us? When it comes to Facebook and its partners, should we be concerned about privacy issues? Or does it even matter?

Please, enlighten me.

Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits