You have to admit Facebook has balls. I mean before, all we (or maybe just I) saw from Facebook was a social network and means for communication. Even Facebook thought of itself as just that. From a simple Harvard experiment by Mark Zuckerberg, came the biggest social networking website in the history of mankind. It surpassed Multiply, Friendster, and other vintage social websites back in the day. Then we all thought it would stop there.
Who would have known that we would enter an era when Mark Zuckerberg could speed-dial Obama, control fleets of drones, broker $19 billion acquisitions in a week, and buy whole virtual worlds? Definitely no one. According to TechCrunch, from a simple social network, Facebook has been able to do the following since they broke their IPO (Initial Public Offering):
- Launch Internet.org alongside six telecom heavyweights with the goal of connecting the 5 billion people who currently lack Internet.
- Start the Facebook Artificial Intelligence lab on NYU’s campus to research data science, deep learning, machine learning, and software that can think for itself.
- Admit its mobile app can’t be everything to everyone, and unveil the Facebook Creative Labs initiative to build standalone mobile experiences starting with the radically-designed Facebook Paper.
- Spend $19 billion to buy WhatsApp in a bid to dominate mobile messaging in the third world. For many, WhatsApp is their first taste of the Internet.
- Acquire Oculus for $2 billion to control what it believes is the next critical computing platform and the future of human connection.
- (And today) Unveil the Facebook Connectivity Lab, which is building solar-powered drones and satellites to beam Internet to the developing world.
Who would’ve thought? The only other company to be able to do such a thing started off as a search engine. Google has been the only one since then to have been doing things like this. Now Facebook joins Google with a new three-part mission of “…connecting everyone, one; two, understanding the world; and three, building the knowledge economy.” (said Mark Zuckerberg after acquiring Oculus)
And they have the stuff to do it. Mark Zuckerberg continued by saying,
“With this acquisition, now each of those initiatives has an ambitious long-term bet associated with it, in addition to our important near-term work as well.
For number one, connecting everyone, for the long term we have Internet.org, our initiative to make free basic internet services available to everyone in the world. And for connecting everyone, we also have our near-term efforts for our messaging and growth.
For number two, understanding the world, we have our ambitious AI Research Group, which is trying to build a unified model of how every person [inside] the world is connected to each other. In the near term, our efforts here are in search and News Feed, and will help your network surface more useful information to you.
And for number three, building the knowledge economy, that’s really about building future technology platforms. And we now have Oculus joining us, which long term can be one of the next important computing platforms. And of course we will continue to focus on our extremely important work of building out our advertising platform as well, as part of this.”
Gone are the days when Facebook was just a social networking website that had an array of mobile apps. Now Facebook is a forward thinker of the future.