Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at Snap Summit. During the panel, a discussion came up surrounding “platform wars” and how companies (including Google) were racing to develop a competing platform to Facebook. I completely agree that the race has begun but the real battle is over the “social graph.” A number of people have suggested that the word “social graph” make little to no sense given that Facebook is just a social network.
While Facebook may be a social network, it currently has the most accurate understanding of all of my real world relationships. As I announced yesterday, Facebook knows who my mom is (yes, she is indeed on Facebook). While I may be one of a few peope that have added a large number of my family members as “friends” on Facebook, the reality is they know how I met a large portion of my friends. Whether I met someone through a conference that I just attended or whether they added me as a friend after reading this blog, Facebook knows.
No other social network on the web has as much valuable data. So while MySpace, Friendster, Bebo and Hi5 can launch a platform, they can’t achieve what Facebook has achieved in the past few years. As Facebook continues to grow over the next year, they will continue to expand the most accurate map of the social graph on the web today. There is no site that is close to competing with it yet. Google and Microsoft may argue that thanks to the massive about of data stored by user emails, they too can accurately reveal an individual’s social graph. I whole heartedly disagree but maybe we’ll just have to wait and see when Google opens up later this year.
Until then, Facebook has accomplished what the U.S. government could only dream of accomplishing: accurately mapping individuals’ social graphs. While the job is not done yet, Facebook has taken the lead, leaving their competitors far behind. Who do you think will be able to compete with Facebook in mapping the social graph?