At this year’s F8 Developer’s conference, Facebook’s 31-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg told the audience where he sees his company over the next 10 years.
In a 30-minute keynote speech he mentioned Internet access for everyone, deeper connectivity for current users, virtual reality advances, machine learning, live-streaming, delivery drones, chatbots for the firm’s messaging platform, and even politics.
Johnny Li, one of Cheetah Mobile’s GM who attended the gathering, noted that Facebook already has its own “social ecosystem,” which is more in touch with reality than Google’s. Li said that his company has only 5-year plans. Snaps’ chief executive Christian Brucculeri deemed Zuckerberg’s plan a “grand plan.”
Nevertheless, most experts agree that Facebook’s initiative to bring the Internet and social media service to all of world’s 7 billion people is far from altruistic. A larger user base means more ad revenue. And we could be talking about billions of U.S. dollars.
But the U.S. company may have some obstacles to overcome first as some international regulators are not comfortable with the social media giant’s rapid expansion in their countries. For instance, India outlawed a Facebook initiative to provide free Internet access, arguing that phone companies should not give away access only to some services.
Still, Zuckerberg’s move is highly unusual for a Silicon Valley exec. Apple keeps its products secret until the last moment while Google does the other way around with its driverless cars and Google Glass just to lure in more brain power and pique customer interest.
Intel and Nvidia offer up to 10-year projections on their products to provide suppliers with guidance and inflate customer base. But all in all, tech companies keep their projects secret in a fast-changing world.
Yet, analysts believe that Zuckerberg’s strategy may pay off despite being so exotic. It could be especially helpful in emerging markets, giving Facebook a big edge against the competition.
Plus, Facebook’s world dominance plan should not be a surprise after key acquisitions including Oculus, Instagram, and WhatsApp and recent advances in artificial intelligence. According to Facebook, its AI bots can now make 6 million predictions every second.
Facebook’s Joaquin Quinonero Candela, head of the Applied Machine Learning division, disclosed other aces up its company’s sleeve. The social media company is reportedly working on computer algorithms that can help the blind ‘read’ photos with their fingers and the platform automatically tag people in videos.
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