Facebook is Your New Desktop

August 8, 2009

by joseph.young.2009

With the massive growth in social gaming over the past 12 months, I felt it was necessary to get some first hand experience on what makes these games so successful. Though I’m still studying the space, one takeaway from the experience was Facebook’s design to become your new desktop.

What do I mean by this? Just look at these two pictures.


The first image shows Facebook in my browser at fullscreen (F11 on Firefox and IE). This should not look surprising to anyone who has used Facebook recently to play a flashed based game. What is interesting is when you compare this image to the image of a clean install of Windows XP.


The “Start” menu in Windows is replaced by the “Applications” in Facebook. Bookmarked application buttons give you access to the Facebook apps you access often. This is a direct copy of the quick launch icons in the windows taskbar (not shown in this screenshot). On the bottom right of the Facebook window is the chat client that mimics a chat program (say MSN) in your system tray.

Facebook has taken a user interface (UI) that the majority of computer users are familiar (Windows XP), and reproduced it online. This may be due to the Microsofts investment in Facebook, or just a reflection of their chummy relationship. My opinion on Facebook’s strategy is a bit more nefarious. The end goal is to kill the heavyweight OS, and instead have users connect directly to the web when they boot up their computers and spend all their computer time in Facebook.


4 Responses to “Facebook is Your New Desktop”

  1. CriCri Says:

    Nice post. They are working hard to become more and more popular every single day. I’m interested about the Google OS, will be the same.

  2. Joseph Young Says:

    Thanks for the comment CriCri. It will definitely be interesting when Google OS hits the public. My opinion is that the GOS won’t hit for a while though, It seemed more as a PR stunt to draw attention away from Office online.

  3. Surya Says:

    What will facebook do for addressing (Intel) Atom based netbooks and thin client machines that do not support graphics? In addition, what mode, will fb pursue for mobile environment?

  4. Joseph Young Says:

    Hi Surya,

    From my experience, facebook works 100% on netbooks. Though the Atom doesn’t have a powerful graphics card, it is more than sufficient for the flash games that are the most taxing in facebook now.

    As for the mobile space, it looks like facebook is ignoring 3rd party apps currently. The iPhone 3.0 version will not have integrated applications, but only basic facebook functionality. The reasoning for this I think is two fold. First, supporting 3rd party apps on a mobile platform is technically challenging to say the least. I think their stance to have people create apps that use facebook connect is a strong strategy. The second reason to avoid support for 3rd party apps on their mobile platforms is the loss in revenues. On the mobile app, there are fewer opportunity to advertise to you. The mobile app is complementary to the web app, increasing users participation and encouraging them to return to facebook for the full experience.

    Keep up the great questions!


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