Feeds

Social networks to replace imagination and be woven into clothes

Or maybe just pump more ads

High performance access to file storage

It’s official: There’s big money to be made selling virtual window dressing on the internet.

Yesterday, at the Stanford Summit, an annual tech industry love fest, the dreadlocked virtual worlds guru Jaron Lanier told Silicon Valley that "in 25 years, we will all get rich buying and selling virtual goods", and today, the idea was seconded by Wallop CEO Karl Jacob, one of six "social-networking" types who addressed conference attendees this afternoon.

When asked how social networks would make their money over the next decade, Jacob said: "We believe there's a world five years down the road - three years down the road - where the most common thing you do on a social network is buy the things you want to dress up your profile with and the applications you need in order to do that.”

He wants people to know that they don't need imagination to have personality. "Self-expression is a very powerful concept," he explained. "We want to take people away from the idea that they have to do it themselves and that they can buy forms of self-expression in the virtual world."

This virtual goods market, he went on to say, is analogous to the cell phone ring-tones market.

Fellow speaker Gina Bianchini, CEO of Ning, wasn’t so sure: "I think that if I had to choose between the targeted advertising market and the ring-tone market, I’d choose targeted advertising."

Most of Jacob’s fellow speakers - including MySpace senior vice president Chris Wolfe and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz - believe that good ol' web advertising will drive social networking into the next decade, as the let-the-web-drive-your-social-life "technology" migrates onto handheld mobile devices and spreads across the globe.

"With MySpace, we're transforming the company into a global network. We're now live in 18 countries, and we're launching in a new country every three months," Katz said. "Mobile is the other huge initiative, so that you can access these networks wherever you go - from your pocket."

But Jacob refused to fall in line. At one point, he also said that social networks will soon extend well beyond mobile devices into, well, everything. "If in ten years we're still talking about social networking profiles, something went radically wrong," he said. "Ten years out...I think social networking will be woven into pretty much every product and every thing we touch. It will be part of both our online lives and our real-world lives."

Somehow, this reminds us of Linden Labs CEO Philip Rosedale telling conference attendees that in ten years, the popularity of virtual worlds like his own Second Life will exceed the popularity of the Web itself.

Jacobs envisions a world where the stuff now stored on sites like MySpace and Facebook is part of the clothes we pull on each morning. "We can wear [social networking databases]," he said. "We've got all this clothing with computers and networks and stuff."

Shock - a company called nTag interactive is already going after this market, offering wearable electronic name tags that let you easily trade personal information with people you meet at business cocktail parties.

Does that mean social networking will reinvent business in much the same way IBM and Sun believe virtual worlds will? The odds aren’t good. MySpace’s Katz admits, "Knowing how addictive this stuff, I can imagine the whole thing [social networking for business] going horribly wrong and nobody getting anything done."

The most important message of the afternoon: Social-networking companies don’t like to be called social-networking companies. Says Moskovitz, "We define Facebook as a directory that provides social utility."

So there you have it.®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.