Rohan Jayasekera's thoughts on the evolving use of computers -- and the resulting effects

Occasional thoughts by Rohan Jayasekera of Toronto, Canada.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Facebook as portal

I haven't posted for a while; too busy with work and things like InteractionCampToronto and the great mesh conference here in Toronto last week.

About three months ago I wrote about my experience with Facebook. My admiration has only grown with the addition of the Facebook Platform, and enormously so. It's been less than two weeks since it launched, yet my Facebook friends are busy finding apps to add. And when Facebook lets me know that a friend has added an app I haven't yet heard about, I always check it out to see whether it's of interest to me too. This is only the beginning of this new platform, a platform that while "new" is built on top of existing social networks, giving apps a better shot at viral spread and often eliminating critical-mass challenges.

I highly recommend a really great guest post on Techcrunch: The New Portals: It's the Bread, Not the Peanut Butter by David Sacks. It's about portals, and in particular talks a lot about Facebook as a new kind of portal. Even though I myself co-founded Canada's most popular portal, I largely lost interest in it a long time ago when the portal sphere started to stagnate, and later the advent of Web 2.0 massively changed the environment within which the very concept of a portal is applied. A good Web 2.0 portal doesn't have that much in common with a good Web 1.0 portal, and perhaps it's time to introduce a new term. "Portal 2.0" has been used to refer to personalized home pages like Netvibes and iGoogle, but to me that is too limiting: a portal is something that people use as a main jumping-off point to the Web, and Facebook now falls in that category. I invite suggestions for a new term in the comments.

Again, I highly recommend the post I linked to in the preceding paragraph.