In it’s early stages of life, Facebook built their desktop site functionality around the idea of taking over your entire online experience. They threw in chat, messaging, email, in stream photos and video, games and applications, and even made you view linked content within their sandbox, so to speak. But with its purchases of Instragram, WhatsApp, and now Occulus, we’re seeing the beginnings of a different idea. Facebook is realizing they are more valuable, long-term, as the underlying advertising infrastructure for a family of experiences, not an all-consuming monolithic world of Facebook.
They no longer care how and where you use their service, or even if you’re aware that you are. They are collecting data on you, your habits, your “likes,” whether you click that thumbs-up button or not. And they’ll use that information to serve you ads on their properties—and, I assume, at some point, their competitors’ properties. Because it won’t matter to Facebook how they got to you, only that someone paid them for access to your eyeballs.
I was admittedly skeptical about facebook around the time of their IPO, but I have to admit, “Zuck” seems to be getting wiser with age.