Mathew Ingram is too kind in his response to Mike Elgan’s silly contention in Datamation that Facebook is the new Yahoo. And while Facebook has at times been a fast follower – so fast it beat Google to the punch in auto-populating groups – that’s not its main claim to fame. Sure, Friendster and MySpace pioneered social networks, and Twitter innovated with real-time feeds. But Facebook built them into a platform, with rich, powerful APIs (unlike Google+ so far). Companies like Zynga barely scratched the surface of what can be built off that platform. Thousands of merchants are trying to build stores. We’ll probably see the launch of a digital music dashboard next week, and who knows what else Facebook will show at its developers’ conference? (An HTML5 plus Credits platform to end-run Apple? Could be.) Facebook is dueling with Google and random others to build out the interest graph, identity management services, unified communications, and the next generation of navigation/discovery and advertising platforms. Don’t let a few flubs fool you.
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