The year 2014 has been an eventful one for the largest and most popular networking site in the world, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB).
That’s a no-brainer actually. Even a third grader could have guessed it. With a 1.35 billion users all over the world, is there any questioning its supremacy?
Over the year that just ended, the network has emerged as the behemoth of social space after acquiring WhatsApp and introducing the Messenger as a standalone app and also making some changes which raised eyebrows, earned them a lot of ire, raised doubts about the site owners’ motives but the site simply continued to grow.
Bigger than any other social site. Not quite getting bigger at the fastest pace but maintaining its lead nevertheless.
Zuckerberg, the visionary entrepreneur, had earlier suggested a predominantly video Facebook within the coming three years only to be scoffed at by experts. We too had derided him for making such a ludicrous, funny and far-fetched statement. Now as the company has announced crossing 1 billion video views daily since June 2014 and overtaken the hitherto most popular online video sharing platform YouTube, his statement begins to make sense. Even sound plausible.
Perhaps this youngest influencer on the Forbes list was born with an uncannily strong sixth sense! He can foresee things and imagine scenarios we lesser mortals cannot even think of which explains why his Facebook-Messenger- WhatsApp- Instagram camp is now shaping and observing the manner in which the world communicates with each other over the internet.
On Wednesday, while addressing his tfirst international question-and-answer session at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, the Facebook founder CEO made another statement which has knocked the wits out of us!
This is what Zuck, who is in the Columbian capital to promote his Internet.org initiative, said:
“In another 10 to 15 years … there will be another platform which is even more natural and even more built into our lives than mobile phones are. It’s pretty easy to imagine that in the future, we will have something that … we can wear.
No, we will not launch a tirade against him this time for having said that because he has, in the past, delivered whatever he promised his site users but let us at least try to visualize what that might look like!
Zuckerberg did not elaborate as to how we would be wearing a device to be able to Facebook with each other in a decade from now though he went on to assure the huge crowd gathered to hear him talk that the wearable will not look weird like some of the stuff that exists today. A reference to the funny looking Google Glass, was it?
In fact, he suggested that the Facebook wearable of the future could look pretty much like a pair of glasses does today!
“ You’ll just be able to have context about what’s going on around you in the world, and communicate with people, and not have to disrupt your conversations by looking down.”
Zuckerberg owned network is now working on developing the next major computing platform which, according to him, is augmented reality and Oculus. He has, on earlier occasions as well, mentioned that a new computing platform emerges every 10 to 15 years and the most important parts of the platform, which we will soon see will be a virtual and augmented reality.
The latest public statements by Zuckerberg begin to make sense when viewed together with the networking site spending a staggeringly huge $2 billion on acquiring Oculus in 2014. The virtual reality start up had earlier focused on gaming till it was taken up under the Facebook umbrella. The analysts snorted. But Zuck made it clear that he was eyeing the ‘bigger picture’.
“This is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face – just by putting on goggles in your home,” he had earlier said.
That does sound like a lot of fun indeed. Imagine being able to do all that cool stuff simply by putting on a pair of glasses!
Does that suggest that Facebook $2 billion acquisition of Oculus with the vision of creating a wearable device for networking in some years from now? It also hints the main objective behind the acquisition of Wit.Ai, that enables voice recognition and allows people vocally talk to a machine.
We are now beginning to believe that the network hopes to make the best use of Oculus VR by creating non-gaming experiences as well. Possibly social networking and, ultimately, advertising built in too!
“By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures,” Zuckerberg had written.
He also went on to say that there was a lot more to augmented and virtual reality than simply feeling transported to another time and place. With the huge team of some of the world’s best developers and partners to assist him, he hopes to make augmented reality a part and parcel of daily life for billions of people across the planet, not without mentioning that it would take a while for the whole thing to start unfolding.
Five years plus thing, he said.
How Does a ‘Wearable’ Facebook Sound To Us NOW?
The leading global think-tank Pew has already in one of its earlier reports mentioned that 83% of the industry experts believe wearables and connected devices to dominate the mainstream by 2025. Now without adding that in spite of the hype attached to it and the products being touted as the next-big-thing, the progress will be slow albeit steady.
Wearables like smartwatches and fitness devices which are expected to be among the top devices, but how big is the market for them and how willing are users to start using them, in the wake of substantial concerns about privacy and people’s ability to control their own lives.
A study conducted by Juniper Research estimates 27 million smart devices being sold this year and the market for them quadrupling over the next three years, to hit a sales figure of 127 million units in 2017. The report also predicts the trend of manufacturing smart, mini-computer like wrist watches and state of the art fitness tracking apps to come to an end by 2017 as people move on to ‘more advanced wearable technologies’.
The world had laughed at Newton when he had explained the apple was falling off the tree with his law of gravitation. Copernicus and Galileo were ridiculed too. The world thought the Wright brothers had lost it completely when they set off on their maiden flight. Socrates was made to drink hemlock.
Similarly we, lesser mortals, might think Zuckerberg to be crazy for having suggested a wearable Facebook in another decade from now. But who knows? He could change the face of networking in the coming years.
If we are lucky, we might be able to sign into our most loved networking site using a wearable device in another ten years from now!