With more than half a billion people actively using its service, Facebook clearly owns the dominant position in the crucial point of control we’ve come to call The Social Graph. Regardless of controversy, the company’s Open Graph protocol has been widely adopted, solidifying Facebook’s lead in social, and positioning the company to challenge Google’s dominance in both ad networks and search.
Google is certainly aware of the threat, and is both bolstering its Buzz offering and, according to many, preparing an all out response to Facebook code-named Google Me. Meanwhile, Twitter has consolidated its grip on what it calls the “Interest Graph,” a public version of the social graph based on what people are doing (and where). Twitter’s advertising platform, Promoted Tweets and Trends, is showing early promise, and will be rolled out to third party developers shortly.
Web giants Microsoft and Yahoo are taking different paths. Though in an advertising partnership with Facebook, Microsoft has yet to declare its social graph strategy — some believe its Xbox Live and IM platforms will play central roles. Yahoo has gone all in with Facebook, integrating the Open Graph deep into its massive site.
Insurgents and upstarts are eager to join the fray, with location based social networks such as Foursquare and Gowalla hoping to become the next big thing in social. And don’t forget the international players — TenCent, Baidu, and DST hold dominant positions outside the US.
At Web 2.0 Summit this year, we’ll discuss the social graph as a strategic territory. We’ll also cover related points of control such as mobile platforms, distribution, identity services and payment systems, location services, data transport, and advertising. Join the leaders of the Network economy in a three day conversation that promises to once again set the agenda for our ever-changing and fascinating industry. Request an invitation today and secure your seat.
John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly and the Web 2.0 Summit Team