Times they are a changin’, or so it seems. The powerhouse of the internet that is Google has a pretender to its crown. Facebook has managed to gain a level of momentum that could well see it take over as the most influential company on the web.

facebook-logoIt is the strength of the relationship that Facebook has with its 450 million plus users that puts it in such a strong position. Add to that the announcements from its f8 developer conference and the writing could well be on the wall for a number of the most promising businesses currently laying claim to their own piece of our web based life.

In a way that seems contrary to the normal scheme of things, the greater Facebook’s success the more it has continued to attract new users. It is now a platform that circles the world and brings together groups of friends in a way that no other site has managed.

Adding new features and functions, such as “Presence”, could well make it the largest provider of these services at the click of a mouse. Location based services are just one possibility. Foursquare has a great proposition and has gathered a significant number of users and momentum of its own. But, and it really is a huge but for the guys at Foursquare, a Facebook location update service will automatically have millions of users an catapult it to number one in a second.

Another example of how Facebook is capturing more of our online time is its instant messenger service. With more of my friends on the site more often, I have found myself using this over more established services such as Microsoft’s Live Messenger, it is right there, quick and easy. Another significant move is Facebook connect. This service shows how Facebook is working closer and closer with other sites. The technology enables web sites to remove the need for their own registration process by giving access to services and information through a users’ Facebook login.

The really clever thing about all this is that with Facebook, registration and creation of an account is accepted absolutely by users. This automatically provides a huge, already accepting, market for any new services it bolts on. Google on the other hand, came from the opposite point of view. It was created as an open, free to all, search engine and as a result has struggled to change its proposition to a registration based model. Just look at the slow uptake of Buzz.

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