Everyone’s buzzing about the likelihood of a huge Facebook IPO that might happen this spring. Paul Sweeting does a quick roundup, correctly pointing out that Facebook doesn’t need to go public to be a real business. I thought I’d help out by gathering some relevant GigaOM Pro analysis in one location, so that you can best assess the social network leader’s position. Its most recent platform initiatives show Facebook’s massive ambition…and potential. Here are some places it can generate its next billion dollars. Many cast Google and Facebook as arch-rivals in core technology platforms – that’s fair, even if there’s some slightly embarrassed re-casting going on (Pro readers know Facebook isn’t after conventional search.) Debate also rages over a possible Facebook phone; here’s some perspective on predicting Facebook’s mobile strategy.