Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site turned nine on Monday. With well over 1 billion users, it’s hard to believe that the site has not even been around for a decade.
The site was started on 4 February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg when he was a sophomore (second year) at Harvard University. Zuckerberg had launched an initial version of site, then known as Facemash in 2003 but Harvard authorities had shut it down as he had got the information for the site by hacking into administration records.
Zuckeberg relaunched Facemash as TheFacebook.com initially and the name was later changed to Facebook. In 2005, the site allowed users to upload pictures. Till date, Facebook has seen over 219 billion photos being uploaded. By September 2006, Facebook began expanding and allowed anyone over 13 to join the site. It also got the NewsFeed in 2006.
The Facebook Like was introduced much later in February 2009 and according to the company’s Q4 results, it has seen 1.13 trillion ‘likes’ since its introduction.
Mark Zuckerberg at the launch of Graph Search. AFP
In the nine years, since it began Facebook has evolved drastically from what it looked like when it started. The Wall is no longer a part of the site, instead users have the Timeline, introduced in September 2011 and made compulsory for all users in January 2012.
In 2012 Facebook floated its IPO and the company went public with a peak market capitalisation of over $104 billion. The hype was short-lived and the stock of the company soon took a battering.
Nor is the site restricted to desktops as mobile is now a big part of the Facebook strategy. The company launched a slew of apps last year, from Camera to Poke to a new updated Facebook Messenger for both Android and iOS. Facebook also bought the popular mobile photo-editing and sharing app, Instagram last year.
In January, this year Facebook announced the launch of Graph Search that allows users to search the site for photos, places, likes, people on the site. The feature has of course raised privacy concerns as with Graph Search coming in, people are apprehensive about what results Facebook will show You can check out our review of the Graph Search here. Of course Graph Search is still a beta product but it will be rolled out to all site users by the end of this year.
It was also reported by TechCrunch that Facebook has begun testing a new status composer which could let users choose from a wide range of emoticons while updating their status. The new array of visuals elements would allow users to choose their status updates from different categories to share activities such as feeling, reading, or eating or even more creative unconventional ones such as Game Of Thrones or LOTR.
Facebook is set to evolve more this year. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that in the earnings call, highlighting that mobile and new elements will be the key to the site’s future.
In less than ten years, Facebook has changed drastically. From likes to multiple tagging, to emoticons in comments, the site has come a long way. As far as competitors go, Facebook has no close rival in terms of numbers. Google Plus is at number two but has about 343 million users which is nowhere close to Facebook’s 1 billion. If one were to go according to the numbers, Facebook juggernaut is unlikely to stop anytime soon.