Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Power And Weakness That Come With Being The Default

screenshot_choosewisely_previewFacebook had its big coming-out party for mobile on Wednesday, and its Home launcher will soon start shipping exclusively on an HTC device. This is the social network’s first crack at being the default experience on any device. Until now, using Facebook has been a completely optional and background experience, meaning you’d have to visit its website or download one of its apps. After nine years, that approach worked rather well, to the tune of over a billion users. To get to the next level, Facebook had to start dipping its toes into uncharted territory…being the default. Creating a situation where you are the default, out-of-the-box experience certainly has many advantages. For example, HTC is putting all of its marketing power behind the HTC First, and Facebook probably didn’t have to pay a dime for any of this. The phone manufacturer is hoping that even though this isn’t a true “Facebook Phone,” that the fantasy of it being that, along with a manageable $99 price tag, will be enough to sell a slew of them. AT&T is certainly helping the cause on their site with this massive advertisement, which is of course what you see by default when you surf there: On April 12, when people start opening their new devices, they will see a Facebook screen asking them to log in. Yes, Facebook has reached default status. If for some odd reason the person with the phone doesn’t have a Facebook account, they can simply sign up for one. Sounds crazy, but there are still many people without a Facebook account and might not have had a reason to have one before. They might have never had a smartphone before either, which means that the Facebook Home experience will be their guide. The importance, and potential negatives involved, cannot be understated. The Power Of Default Talk to Microsoft about defaults. It worked quite well for its Internet Explorer browser until it got them into hot water. We’ll get to the hot water later, but Internet Explorer was a beast, because it shipped as the only browsing experience for Windows machines. Was it the best web browser out there? For a while, yes it was. Installing another browser used to be seen as something only really geeky, or adventurous, people would do. I remember tweaking my old Windows machine every chance I could get, downloading any other interface to the

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