From the 15th to 17th of November the top representatives of web companies and experts on the web 2.0 met on the San Francisco Web 2.0 Summit. The conference fees ranged from almost $4000 to $4400, but there was, and still is, a possibility to watch the videos from the sessions online. Why the prices were a bit steep? The answer is: celebrity experts, like Eric Schmidt (Google CEO), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) or Evan Williams (Twitter ex-CEO). In each session you could see the specially prepared “Battle for the Network Economy” map. Mark Zuckerberg was the one to notice and point out that the map should have unclaimed territories, since there is still a huge amount of the market up for grabs.
There were many interesting points made during the Summit, and I encourage you to watch some of the videos on the YouTube O’Reilly Media channel. Of course, since the recent news highlighted the battle between Facebook and Google, this was the hot background topic of the conference. You could hear both Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt being asked about the views on the issue, but both didn’t get involved in the conversation.
In the video from Zuckerberg’s interview, we can hear him talking about the niche power decentralization. Nowadays YouTube is the indisputable king of the online music market. There are some portals, like Vimeo, which compete with YouTube, but still the Google’s product has the biggest amount of users. This is the reason why no one will promote himself on Vimeo knowing that YouTube can give him more exposure. Recently we could observe the power of YouTube, when Justin Beiber became a celebrity overnight with his YouTube videos. Zuckerberg’s vision is to give possibility to other developers to build up on his platform and decentralize entertainment power. He says that about 50% of people are every day on Facebook, and this number is growing, partly due to the usage of smartphones (there are 200M+ mobile users today). Asked about whether Facebook is planning to enter educational market, Mark replies he spent time researching and sees the potential of it, but he leaves the impression that Facebook is rather not interested.
There are also some funny accents of the conversation. Facebook and Apple had talks regarding their cooperation, which didn’t lead to any contract. Afterwards, Steve Jobs was to say: “The demands that Facebook makes are crazy” and the a comment form an involved interviewer stated that “only Steve can make such demands” :)
Mark described his idea about Facebook Messages. He said that the product will be a mixture of email and instant messaging (IM), with emphasis on IM. Mark quoted a high school girl saying emails are too slow for her, due to what she is rarely using them. This inspired Zuckerberg to create Messages, and he hopes the modern and less formal feel of his new product will convince young people to use it more often than emails.
In the interview with Google’s CEO we could watch Eric Schmidt, who showed the new upcoming phone with Android Gingerbread. Schmidt announced the newest version of Android system to be available in a few weeks, so probably around Christmas. He emphasised the fact that Android, contrary to Apple iOS, is an open system that allows many companies to use it on their mobiles and gives wide opportunities for software developers to create applications for it. Eric also described the purpose of Google’s self-driving car. He said that the car should be driven with a person inside, not alone, and Google only wants to create help for drivers. Schmidt says there are many accidents caused by the drunk or drugged drivers each year and their car may be the solution to intoxicated drivers loosing control of their steering wheel. Just like Mark, he doesn’t really comment the Facebook vs Google battle.