New Facebook reminds of AOL in early 90s


Facebook has been making the news almost every week with the launch of a new or updated function or service offering. The more I look at Facebook, the more it reminds me of what AOL offers in the early 90s.


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In celebration of the historic Apollo moon landing, Google has released Google Earth Moon.

Let’s start this journey by taking a walk through time. Some of you are too young to remember the Internet of the ’90s. At that time one of the most popular ways to get “in line” was to use AOL. This was the popular online service that came through the disks that you received in the mail. Prodigy and Compuserve were in his output and this new service, AOL was the darling of the era. I went to college in a small town in upstate New York who had no local number for AOL. I had to call Albany to access AOL. The boy had access AOL. One of my first few months, I received a phone bill of over $ 500 in long distance calls (where Vonage then?!?) And that even includes the AOL access charges. I still use the same username for AOL today that originally registered at the time.

AOL was exciting – you can read news, send and receive email, gaming, IM chat with friends, go to chat rooms on issues, seek information, listen to music, send photos, customize the home page for suit your preferences and a variety of other tasks online. In later versions of AOL on the desktop, Web browser is included and other “partners” have been added to allow for additional content, which I call applications.

Sure does seem that the more you try to move the Internet forward, more things seem to copy the old. So that said, let me introduce the next version of AOL … AOL 2.0 … also known as Facebook.

Read the previous paragraph, which begins with “AOL was exciting” and replace with Facebook AOL. Look similar? Appear to be identical?

Facebook has news, friends, chat / instant messaging, games, video, photos, and when its developer network includes you dang near what AOL offers. I will not run for every unique feature in both services, but if you want to create a matrix, the check marks overlap closely. One difference is the added “think” that Facebook offers allowing you to see what your friends (or contacts marketing) are doing.

Sure Facebook allows us to connect at speeds higher than a 28.8 baud modem overclocked, but if you look closely, I can see the little man running in yellow in the logo of Facebook. I would say that if AOL connection speeds and coverage benefits from now on Facebook, AOL would have been much higher.

I’ve wondered if Facebook eventually launch a similar branded phone’s Google to launch smartphone a link. And there are a lot of talk about Facebook’s potential to create a web browser. AOL had a web browser as well.

Facebook likes to say that are open, but I guess that’s your definition of AOL was so open in the mid 90s. One difference between companies is in the way that income. AOL charges a service fee and Facebook is through Facebook ads and also told me tonight that Heinz Ketchup Ketchup wants to share my stories (I never use tomato sauce) and two of my Facebook friends are fans of Heinz Ketchup.

Facebook has two important advantages over AOL Facebook to help you remain important for a long period of time. First, it gives them the “tube” for free. That is, people are connected to Facebook using their own connections, while AOL had to supply their own line in the lines. Second, Facebook has the advantage that more people connect to the web of what computers in the 1990s. This connectivity helps keep Facebook to add new users every week.