A social mobile future could end social networks

Original author: Keith Teare
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Just a few days ago, Kate Thear spoke at the MBLT 2013 conference with a report comparing classic social networks with mobile. I think the following article was written based on the results of this speech, the translation of which I bring to your attention.

Editor's Note: Kate TEAP founder of the social network just.me and party tools Archimedes Labs . Also co-founder of TechCrunch . Follow us on Twitter @kteare .

This week, Google I / O was held, which made it significant for everyone who is watching the rapid transition from home computers to mobile devices, and partly for those who are focused on social mobility like me, due to the fact that this is my work in just.me. Below is my vision of what we found this week.

Self-made Hangouts. At Google I / O, it was announced that Hangout will be launched as a separate application from Google Plus, providing the ability to conduct personal correspondence.

Problems with Facebook Home . AT&T reported that it was decided to discontinue the release of HTC First - a Facebook phone - due to lack of sales. This process goes on a background of a large number ofone-star reviews on Google Play on an application from Facebook.

What is the share?

There are a lot of topics and questions that arise during the launch and development of Hangouts, as a standalone application and the decision to launch a product such as Facebook Home. Both products represent two very similar answers to one general question. What will users look at when satisfying their social needs using smartphones?

To understand the context of the problem in analyzing the problem, let's acknowledge that the “elephant in the china shop” partially influenced these decisions.

Mobile messengers are quickly becoming the primary option for using social applications on a mobile device. Data released this week shows that more than 41 million messages per day were delivered via the “Over The Top” (OTT) application.

Phones were created as a social tool. Smartphones are especially good at being social. Combining text, voice, video and image in an infinite number of applications that can serve the needs of users and all this does not need social networks.

The user can communicate with anyone, anywhere, on absolutely any issues and at any time. This statement is absolutely true and it was it that ensured the explosive growth of applications such as iMessage, WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat, KakaoTalk and other smaller projects. Nearly 750 million smartphone users out of 1.2 billion already use these products.

If you are Google, Facebook or any other major provider of a social platform originally developed for the web, then the transition to the mobile world is a serious task for you.

Similar problems arise for applications that distribute media content. Since users flock to Vine, Snapchat, and earlier to Instagram, for social platforms the problem arises of remaining the primary providers of media services for a growing army of smartphone owners.

Another key feature of Facebook and Google+ is that when publishing posts that can be viewed by all or many, a frequent operation is that not so many users are involved in this process on mobile devices, much less than in a web-based application.

What do platform providers do?

If we go back a few years ago, we will realize that there is only one reasonable way of development.

It consists in creating a single application that will embrace and expand the existing capabilities of the messenger market leaders in the hope of receiving users from WhatsApp, LINE, KakaoTalk and WeChat, while simultaneously introducing the possibility of exchanging media data, saving personal notes and publishing them in a single space.

Google and Facebook go this way together.

It is quite advisable to release Hangouts and collect an audience of instant messengers in an application with advanced functionality. But Google also announced Google Now and Voice Search, as the point of integration of all mobile social capabilities. Of course, these are only the first steps, but Android is committed to finding integration points for all user needs.

Facebook, along with Home, showed an integrated approach to integration, with Messenger, Camera, Pages and a full-fledged Facebook application under the hood. But Home was poorly received by users, but, of course, Facebook will go deeper and improve its integration-oriented products. The first attempts, for the most part, will be aimed at improving the user interface.

The weakness and strength of the initially mobile companies

WhatsApp and its clones can be considered as originally mobile companies. Their services are located at the very top of applications used by users on a smartphone, for example, the capabilities of the address book or simply help a person communicate with their friends, family and colleagues. The secret of their success is simplicity and unified dedicated functionality.
On the other hand, this is their weakness. Applications have a narrow specialization and are needed only at a brief moment of conversation, for chat or as an interface for instant messaging. Of course, the ability to include media content in your messages or, for example, voice calls was added. But the final functionality of such applications covers only a small period of time of individual or group communication. Requirements for the availability of applications on both sides are also a drawback of such systems.

The user, as a rule, has a wider range of needs, now satisfied with single-functional applications. Evernote for personal notes, email for lengthy conversations, social networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter for public activity, and finally Path or Instagram for posting photos. This period is somewhat reminiscent of the Windows era before Outlook when applications performed only one function and the user had to use a large number of applications.

Can web companies beat primary mobile?

The latest actions of Facebook and Google are just the first steps taken by Internet companies in response to the success of their initially mobile projects. Of course, these are not final decisions, but already now they are making a positive impression. Of course, there is still some time during which mobile messengers can prepare a worthy response to expansion into their sphere.

Already there are keys to the future of the mobile world, kindly provided by users. People still use email on their mobile devices (trillions of messages in 2013), which shows a partial dissatisfaction with chat-oriented applications. The growth of Vine and Snapchat (only one key feature) shows that not all media sharing opportunities are satisfied. There are many more things to play with.

If we look five years into the future, then it is entirely possible that the iOS and Android kernel will support significantly more integrated communication tools used today by individual applications.

The ability to save personal and voice messages, dialogs or conversations, sharing media content, video (in two modes - synchronously and asynchronously), time lines in order to look back and understand your activity a couple of days ago. All this will become new features of the operating system.

Due to the fact that mobile applications are going through the era of Windows 3.1, single-functional applications, the era of an integrated future is coming, when the capabilities of one-time applications will be built into the operating system. Google and Apple, of course, have an advantage here with their operating system.

The future conquers the present

At the moment, the existing focus is the solution of the question of what functionality should be allocated in a separate application and how to push them into a single interface, there is a key step in determining the winner.

Facebook has Messenger, Camera, Pages, and these primary applications, along with Facebook Home, are an integration point.

Google has Talk, Contacts, Mail, Plus, Hangouts, possibly with Now as an integration point.

Apple is a little behind, but with iMessage, FaceTime, Photostream, Mail, and Contacts, iOS itself can be an integration point.

WhatsApp, LINE, KakaoTalk, WeChat and others should go beyond the chat-oriented interface to a wider exchange of asynchronous messages, expand the set of social lotions, possibly provide support for temporary flight, in order to be on the technological top.

The end of social networks and the beginning of a new era?

The groundwork for the next few exciting years has already been laid when web-oriented social platforms will look for their way in the environment of mobile-social applications, and mobile messengers will look for their own way of reserving and incorporating new social opportunities.

Currently, initially-mobile applications are leading in terms of the number of users and the level of involvement. To maintain this advantage, they must continue to innovate.

People are inherently social and the smartphone has all the necessary range of capabilities to meet social needs. It can be seen that the growth of Over The Top messengers, applications representing the ability to share media data, satisfies the social needs of users from without social networks.

Now the mobile-social world has an open question about whose software we use to satisfy our social needs? Actually, this is what this week was about.

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