Facebook has introduced its Like button, which will further integrate the site with others around the Internet. Its personalization could be a powerful tool for Facebook in the future, even a decisive one over its competitors.
“It’s a simple yet powerful feature — one that delivers a significant blow to rival Twitter,” writes Pete Cashmore. “Once the network effects take hold, it’s frankly hard to imagine how any company could unseat Facebook’s social networking dominance in the months to come. Without a counterattack, even Google may one day be dethroned.”
“Facebook’s large user base of 400 million also gives it a strategic advantage over Twitter’s 100 million users. Twitter has also upset developers by moving towards official apps, whereas Facebook is inviting new partners in with the Like button and other new tools.”
“Google is also potentially targeted by Facebook’s new push. While Google dominated in the era of interlinked websites, its personalization is limited because it lacks access to your personal interests the way that Facebook does.”
“Google makes the vast majority of its money from ads — these ads typically match your search terms, or the content of the Web page you’re viewing,” writes Cashmore. “Google has certainly worked to personalize these ads, but its knowledge of your friends and interests is more limited than Facebook’s. The data gleaned from thousands of Facebook Like buttons around the web could make for an ad network that rivals Google’s AdSense.”
“Still, there are no guarantees for Facebook, particularly if Google does something like buy Twitter. While Facebook is perfectly positioned to lead the next charge, success is by no means guaranteed. Twitter is set to release ‘annotations,’ a way to append extra information to Tweets. Google has enough money on hand to buy, well, whatever it wants. And Facebook’s user base is volatile: They may one day decide to embark on a mass exodus, causing Facebook to fall like MySpace and Friendster before it,” concludes Cashmore.