The new features announced are:
· Group Chat
· New Design
· Video Calling
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. Group chat and video-calling are both welcomed additions, certainly moving in the right direction but, I was hoping for Video Calling via Skype with up to 5 participants and group chat, both available on mobile devices. My view is that users want to interact with groups – either through voice or messaging – while on the go. With its 750 million users, this would have been a true quantum leap that would have put FB well ahead of G+.
I am already an avid user of FB, Skype and several messaging systems (cannot find a single one that all my friends use - FB would solve that!) but always on the go. I hardly ever turn on my personal laptop (a Mac) but I always have my iPhone, iPad and iPod close to hand. Basically, I will not be using FB in any way differently from how I was using it last week, which is the disappointing part. I am sure that this will come and I understand that this is an incremental process - this really is about building a platform not about a feature or product – but they can’t let G+ get too far ahead in its feature set.
FB’s next big announcement should be 'Project Spartan', expected to be unveiled in the second half of this month. This project will establish a new mobile web app platform that could help the social networking giant gain independence from Apple's App Store. While downplayed by FB, speculation is ripe as to what the specifics of the announcement will be and it’s purpose.
· Gigaom thinks that mobile web-apps still need to prove themselves as a viable alternative to native software.
· TechLand and Gizmodo believe that this is indeed the right path pointing to the success of the Financial Times building their app entirely over HTML5 and the benefits of by-passing Apple altogether.
My view is that FB’s current position, with its very large user base, gives it enough time to play around and figure things out through trial-and-error. It is a matter of how streamlined the process will be...