Romey's Ramblings

Random musings of Jeromey Balderrama

Facebook: crappily copying yet again

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For Facebook’s 10th birthday, it looks like they decided to give everyone a gift of a little gift and make a little video montage of your Facebook moments. Just like anything on Facebook, it’s going viral and my news feed is littered with all of these videos.  This is a cute little idea, except for one problem: it’s not theirs. Google came up with the “let’s convert everyone’s pictures into a video montage” last month. To make matters worse, not only did Facebook copy the idea, but their video is lame and limited.  All the video does it tell you when you joined Facebook, show off some random pictures and then displays your “top liked” status updates and pictures. It ends with a montage wall of some of your random pictures.

I wish I could show it to you, but Facebook won’t let you post it outside of their walled garden.  Luckily, Google + allowed me to download my video and post it back to YouTube:

I realize that neither company came up with the concept of making a video montage out of photos, but if Facebook is going to be the second one to implement it on a wide scale, they could at least match the creativity in what they’re copying.  Some of this may be that I’ve been a lot more deliberate in the photos that I’ve posted to Facebook.  Before Clara was born, I hardly posted anything to Facebook – so they may have had slimmer pickings.  However Facebook’s lack of quality photos is due to the fact that they’ve given me less reason to trust them with my photos.  Over the years Facebook has been so convoluted in their privacy controls that I’ve been extremely hesitant to post anything.  Google, on the other hand has at least given me the impression that I have control over my own privacy.  When they implemented their auto-backup of photos, those photos were private by default. While I know both companies profit off collecting my information, the value proposition offered by Google has been greater.

Part of me wonders if Facebook intentionally did not make the videos better. People have become a lot more leery of the information they’ve provided to Facebook.  For me, Facebook knows when I started my job, when I got married, when my daughter was born.  Maybe if they included more specific details, it would have the reverse viral effect and people would have the hell freaked out of them.  Perhaps they didn’t want to tip their hand on the data they’ve been storing.

I’m not some Google+ apologist. The truth is that their social network doesn’t really have any scale, thus they don’t offer much to me. The thing that bothers me the most however is that people on Facebook are acting like Facebook has delivered a great original idea, when they don’t realize that they’re getting a sub-par copy of another’s innovation. This is just the latest idea that Facebook has stolen from someone else and have used their scale to make this appear like some great breakthrough – just like they did with hash-tags, @-mentions, and trending topics.

Facebook, if you’re going to steal, do a better job.