Just a little more than a year ago, Wall Street’s IPO hype machine went into overdrive pushing Facebook as the next Google or Amazon — that is, a company destined to branch out from its original mission to conquer a large segment of services on the Internet. But now that Facebook has been public for more than a year, its prospects becoming a Google or Amazon-style behemoth seem much more distant, Reuters reports. To be clear, there’s little chance that Facebook will be like MySpace, which saw its user count completely crash over the span of a year in 2010, but there’s also little sign that the company’s ambitions to challenge Google in the search realm will ever bear any fruit.
What’s more, Facebook faces a long-term challenge in competing against the plethora of messaging and photo-sharing applications that have popped up around the web in recent months. Facebook took one big potential competitor out of commission when it bought Instagram but that hasn’t stopped new apps such as SnapChat from rising up seemingly overnight to become instant sensations. Chuck Jones, founder of technology research firm Sand Hill Insights, tells Reuters that Facebook could suffer “death by a thousand SnapChats… in three-to-five years” if it can’t keep pace with the frantic pace of innovation in today’s mobile app market.
For the time being, though, Facebook has maintained its hold as the world’s top comprehensive social network as competing services such as Google+ have remained comparative ghost towns. Whether the company will ever become anything more, however, is still very much up in the air.