As the Facebook IPO continues to struggle, though not all fault of their own, I can’t help but think of ways they could incorprate new features and technologies to improve their brand. Facebook seems to pride itself on simplicity, having very few menu options, but perhaps it is time they incorprate a little more creativity and take a few more risks. The ideas I have are as follows:
One of my favorite features of a custom news feed is on LinkedIn. The difference is that not all Facebook users want to reach business or technology news. Users could have the option to plug in their favorite websites (Justin Bieber fan sites, off-road interest sites), also receive recommendations, and voila, you have a custom news feed tailered to each user. For Facebook, this provides more data on the interests of each user. The difference from their current news feed is this will separate the news of their interests with the news of their friends and interest groups. One specializes in ‘microblogging’, the other in actual published works. This feature will go a long way with the professionals who want a more polished feature, like on LinkedIn.
Mobile Phone OS:
Partner with someone in need of a big leap of faith, such as Blackberry and T-Mobile to create a simple, cost-effective, social-based mobile phone. Facebook could tweek their applications into an operating system, and to include the ability to make phone calls. They already have chat and video messaging messaging, as well as email. They could add simple applications, like their games and news feeds, but the idea is to create a very simple, easy to use mobile phone targeted at the not so tech savvy crowd, or those who don’t desire a ton of apps from Google or Apple.
Let In the 13 and Unders:
But limit their access. Allow other users to set them to underage in their view settings to call them out, or limit them to what they see. As technology advances for one generation, it quickly becomes the norm, or what is expected of the next generation. There are lots of games on Facebook kids like to play. Parents could have access to their page until they reach the age of 13 to keep tabs on them.
Create a Family/Friend/Colleague Tree:
While sites like Ancestry dominate the family tree business, no one creates a tree of when friends spent time together or colleages working together. In sports they call this the coaching tree, where analysts on TV show current head coaches and the coaches they started under. These trees can show who worked with who, and what managers worked under whom. Photos can be attached as well. Facebook already collects some information in their groups as to who worked with who. A recent app I have seen popping up is called BranchOut, that seems to work like LinkedIn, allowing users to network with each other. Facebook could acquire and use this tool.
Make a Major Aquisition:
Yes, they just bought Instagram, but what was that company really worth in true, sustainable value? Facebook could consider branching out into content, like books and music. They could have aquired the online presence of Borders bookstores. Maybe they could reach out to Books-A-Million. This could give them the talent to create an online content store of e-books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Perhaps they consider aquiring T-Mobile or Blackberry. These companies could give Facebook some credit history, patents, talent, and physical products that allow them to expand on the amount of information they collect from their users.
Add Streaming Content:
Facebook sometimes has events, but perhaps they could better parter with YouTube, or someone like Hulu and UStream to be able to offer online content such as movies, TV shows, and live events to draw in users to their site. Facebook TV! This will bring users to the site, even as they fatigue of the usual time lines and news feeds.