Facebook will be announcing something tomorrow – and that means it’s time for us to premptively decide what that might be. It’s science, people: Everytime a press invite goes out or a Facebook developer event comes around, all of our social networking hopes and dreams get pinned to the potential release.
This time, it’s no different. So it’s time to indulge ourselves with this week’s edition of “Everything ever that Facebook could possibly be releasing.”
The Facebook Phone
Talk about beating a dead horse. The Facebook Phone rumor first started swirling way back in 2010 and has managed to percolate ever since. While there have been “Facebook phones” – aka, the HTC Status and the INQ Cloud Touch - there is no Facebook Phone (emphasis on that capital “P”). That is to say there is no Facebook hardware-firmware-software bearing smartphone that exists. I hate to break it to you: one won’t exist after tomorrow. An all-Facebook-everything smartphone has been written off by too many people, including Mark Zuckerberg, too many times. It’s not coming. At least, not now.
That said, we could see a Facebook mobile OS announcement. The company has made mobile a big priority and has been lining up new products and acquisitions (even failed ones) that put mobile first. But a fully-fledged Facebook mobile OS still isn’t going to show up on a high-end smartphone anytime soon. It’s time to give up on that dream, you crazy handful of fanboys.
The new Facebook headquarters
Here’s a boring one for you: Maybe Facebook wasn’t being metaphorical with that “come see what we’re building” message on its invite. Maybe it literally wants you to come see what it’s literally been building. Last year, Facebook announced it would be redesigning its Menlo Park campus with help from none other than architect Frank Gehry.
It’s very possible that this will be the press’ first chance to get a look at the new headquarters. Which, honestly, isn’t all that boring. A trip inside a developer’s paradise as designed by the world-famous Gehry? I mean, it’s no Facebook Phone, but…
The Timeline redesign
Word has been brewing for awhile that Facebook is cooking up a new Timeline design, and earlier this month the update was pushed to users in New Zealand. The single column take on the Timeline streamlines content more and lightly brings back the simpler, more innocent times of a single, vertical feed on our profile pages.
It’s possible that Facebook has scheduled an event to ease us into this new look. That’s being generous, though: It’s doubtful an official press event has been scheduled to introduce an update. Facebook has issued far bigger changes to the site with little more than a blog post, so don’t count on this being the big reveal.
The introduction of (working) search
We know that at some point, Facebook is going to get into search. Mark “We do a billion queries a day and we’re not even trying” Zuckerberg has said as much. The social graph means that Facebook will be better suited to answers questions that Google or Bing aren’t able to – even though they are both desperately trying to do this (and succeeding to different degrees). Google weaving G+ into Search as much as possible and Bing’s heavy-handed Facebook integration are their attempts at getting personalized results for user searches. But there’s no integration or platform rewiring for Facebook to do this; it has all that information to begin with.
Right now, Facebook search is pretty abysmal. We need search to do so much more than it currently is: What about being able to search your Facebook posts? For instance, I knew that at some point in the past three years I posted a link to something I wanted to find – instead of using the Timeline scroll, I could search for it in some way. Or what if I wanted to see everything my friends said about the Seahawks game last night, or the Golden Globes? Or what if I wanted to know what Thai food restaurants my friends have talked about or posted from? Or what if I only want to see Instagram photos people are posting; shouldn’t or couldn’t there be a stream feed on the left-hand sidebar that when selected would to that? It’s called filtering, and we could sure use some.
These are just a few of the tools Facebook should be enabling if it really wants to be the first authority on social conversation.
Or maybe it’s all of the above
There’s also the possibility that Facebook is about to release a slew of updates. It wouldn’t be the first time that Facebook held a press event to introduce a handful of projects it’d been working on. We could be seeing a few “smaller” releases bundled into the event; sort of a “teacher’s conference” check-in. It could be Messenger for iPad, and a WhatsApp clone. There’s also word there will be an announcement about how Facebook is further working Instagram into its fold.
But that’s about all the speculating we can do. Tomorrow we’ll hear Facebook out and then the cycle of hyper-dissecting all the releases shall begin. Everything in its time and place, am I right?