As part of digesting the meaning of the Era of the Facebook IPO, please check out an essay today by Dave Winer, which builds on one yesterday by John Battelle, which itself was a response to one the previous day by Keith Woolcock. All are worth reading, and all concern the way Facebook's rise is changing -- and distorting -- the overall shape of the internet.
In brief they argue:
- Google's business success depended on a worldwide internet structure as open, untrammeled, and transparent as possible. Therefore most of what Google did for its own corporate interest also advanced those aims -- or at least did not impede them.
- Facebook's business success depends on an internet structure that is increasingly "gated" and segregated into proprietary realms. Therefore most of what Facebook has done is to induce maximum sharing of personal information within its propriety sphere, while erecting barriers to the flow of information from one realm to another.
- The shift of business advantage from the "public" to the "private" model means more than a different subset of people becoming zillionaires. It will also affect the fundamental structure of the Internet and its value to the 99.999% of us who are neither Google nor Facebook IPO-beneficiaries. Already its effects are being seen, as all these pieces argue, with Google's promotion of its "G+" and social-search features. Facebook's ascent leaves Google with no choice but to compete on those terms.