Back in the day, pretty much every website you visited wanted to be your home page, and offered you the opportunity to “choose them”. I was never certain why I would want to have something like Johns-Televisions.co.uk as my home page, so I just stuck with Google.
Times change though, and all 4 of the browsers I have installed on this machine are set up to start with a page listing the sites I’ve visited most recently:
Yes that’s IE9, I like it, and yes, that’s Bing, I like it too. You should try it. Anyway…
Aside from speed dial or a search engine, I’ve had crappy ISPs setting them selves as my home page, but beyond them, dirty spam, and Yahoo, very few people seem to be trying to become my home page any more. Until today, whcn I was logging into Facebook, and I got this:
At first, I was a little surprised – after all, in the online world, finding information is all about search isn’t it?
Well, not any more. Things have changed a lot over the past couple of years, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Social connections are becoming more important as a way of getting access to content, and nowhere is this more apparent than within Facebook.
Facebook has become the internet. It has become the shopping mall, news paper, bar and family room. It is the central business district and out of town discount shopping centre of the internet and everything in between.
Back in November 2010, Hitwise published Facebook traffic stats that demonstrated Facebook’s reach – 25% of all page views in the US were within the social network. That’s a lot, but hardly surprising.
Pretty much every business now has a presence on Facebook that in many cases offers a more engaged and personal experience than their own website. It’s getting to the point where Facebook is not just a place where you meet with friends, it’s becoming an internet of its own, a walled garden that provides users with everything they need online. For many people, Facebook is all the internet they need.
Beyond the Home Page
Facebook becoming the default home page in your browser could be just the start. Facebook have always controlled user experience within their site far more tightly than MySpace or Twitter. In fact, one could argue that the purest experience of Facebook is via their Apps.
According to Nielson data last June, Facebook was the most popular App on all major mobile operating systems:
With a commanding share of Page views, a coherent user interface, and a walled garden approach to the web, perhaps the next logical step for Facebook is a dedicated Browser/ desktop app to replace the likes of Firefox or IE as the means of interacting with their site.