Facebook, the $190 billion company, has come to be a well-recognized authority in the technology industry today. Their mission statement is to essentially “give people the power to share and make the world more connected.” As such, it is to be expected the giant social networking company would try to expand their reach outside the realm of just social media.
These areas include:
- Virtual reality
- Gaming platforms
- Computer switches
- Artificial intelligence
Are these moves in the company’s best interest, or are they going to upset the balance in Silicon Valley?
This move corresponds with the company’s business as a social network. It makes sense that, in order to get more people to use their website, Facebook would want to get more of the world’s people on the internet.
Recently, Facebook has been making test runs of their test drone that beams internet down while in flight. In future, the drone will be unmanned and solar-powered, however for now they are using a test drone named Aquila. The test drone has succeeded in making a connection, but the trouble at this point remains in sustaining a connection while moving.
The drone is capable of beaming internet from two locations 8 miles apart at a speed of 20 GB per second. If its endeavors succeed, Facebook envisions providing internet to 4 billion people currently without connection. Their hope is that using drones will allow poorer regions to access internet without having to install expensive equipment and lines that we currently use. Whether or not this is the future of internet remains to be seen, but it certainly it definitely paints a promising future.
Many of us are familiar with the company Oculus, which has been made records breaking into the virtual reality niche. Oculus is owned by Facebook, making the company a top innovator in this particular nice.
Progress for virtual reality has been slow, even in the gaming sectors where many have anticipated the bringing to life of the gaming world. However, as the possibilities for virtual reality expand and other companies jump on the bandwagon, we can all expect to see falling prices and an opening up of virtual reality technology to the average Joe.
While Facebook was certainly one of the first to jump into this sector, they will certainly not be the last as Vive, Sony, and Google all begin pushing their own virtual reality technology to consumers.
In such a young and uncertain market, it is impossible to say if Facebook’s innovation will pay off in future, or if it will be another failed attempt to “connect the world”.
Facebook has attempted to enter into Snapchat’s territory before. Not once. Not twice. Not even five times. Their latest attempt with their app called Flash will be their 13th time trying to compete with the picture social media’s app.
Fortunately for Facebook, they did seem to learn from their last attempts and have endeavored to differentiate their app this round. Flash takes up less than 25 MB in your phone. For those of you who have Snapchat, you probably noticed that when you downloaded it, your phone started to tell you that you were running out of space. Well Facebook has sought to solve this issue. Currently, they are marketing the app toward the Brazilian market, where many smart phone users do not have the same space that we have here in America.
Besides saving on space, Facebook’s app also includes a feature powered by artificial intelligence. Flash can put filters on your videos in real time. The artificial intelligence in the app can recognize a facial expression and then apply a filter that fits whatever the person in the video is feeling.
Facebook has gone a long way to differentiate itself with this new app, but right now Snapchat has such a firm brand, that many people will have a hard time transferring to another app just like it.
The social media giant is pushing into Steam’s territory with this new innovation. Vive created Steam as a gaming platform for users to play games and connect with others. Facebook’s Gameroom looks very similar to Steam, with less variety.
Essentially Facebook has transferred their gaming section of your Facebook page to a desktop app. There are no new games, the only difference is that it will download larger games onto the computer itself. This totals less than ten games for most users.
It is highly suspected that the new gaming platform could be a way of beginning a transition into Facebook’s platform for social virtual reality. At this time, there really is no point to using the app instead of just playing the games on Facebook itself. Thus leading many to believe there has to be an ulterior motive for this move on Facebook’s part.
Facebook is really trying to bully their way into the computer switch market and throw Cisco under the bus along the way. Backpack is a second generation computer switch that has a 100G optical switch. In other words, you can stream 100GB. To compare, Cisco offers 40GB switches. That is over twice as fast.
How did Facebook manage to make a better switch than a company that has dominated the market for so long? The company employed the use of fiber optic cable. This transfers information via light. If you know anything about computers, you will know that fiber optics are pretty pricey. Facebook has been working tirelessly to do what no other company has done before and make fiber optics more affordable.
It remains to be seen if Cisco will release something bigger and better to affirm their position as the industry leader in computer switches. One thing that is certain is that Facebook is intent upon establishing itself in this territory.
One large and highly anticipated part of Facebook’s future plan is AI. We have already briefly discussed this in the Snapchat section. The tech giant has also established AI in its use of the Aquila plane to beam internet to earth.
Facebook seems to believe artificial intelligence is the future. Their ultimate vision is to improve artificial intelligence to the point where it can reason and learn as humans.
What do you think?
Is Facebook heading in a direction that will turn them into a leading innovator for future technology?
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