It seems that when Facebook does or changes anything, we all drop what we’re doing and engage. (Remember the simultaneous excitement and outrage which followed the introduction of its new timeline format, among many others?) It should come as no surprise, then, that when the company put its private press conference on hiatus to accommodate CES 2013 last week, heads rolled.
Thus, a long list of rumors have been circulating about what is so important that Zuckerburg wanted all eyes on his social media offspring tomorrow, January 15, the day the conference was re-scheduled to take place at the company’s Menlo Park, C.A.-based headquarters.
According to Yahoo and many other reports, this is going to be “big news.” But we all know that “big news” could be a secretly sugar-coated phrase for something that craves sensationalism. When asked what he thought the mystery news would entail, even Business Insider CEO and Editor-in-Chief Henry Blodget told CNBC today, “I have no idea.” So what have we heard so far in this Web-based game of telephone?
This could be the most widely spread rumor thus far, mainly because it’s the most realistic of the bunch and because Zuckerberg himself did hint that the site may go toe-to-toe with bigwigs Google and Microsoft’s search engines in the near future. He explained at TechCrunch Disrupt that the company “is pretty uniquely positioned to answer the questions people have.” While it’s the most realistic, however, many think that this news isn’t big enough news to call for a press conference. “Search, they have to go into that business at some point,” Blodget says. “It is a huge opportunity for them, but to call a press conference to say we’re going into the search business. Why would you do that?”
Many have equally been reporting that this event will be “mobile-focused,” which perhaps could give birth to – you heard it – a “Facebook phone.” The company is already heavily caught up in the mobile current, where it recently revealed its new voice call capability to its Messenger app. It would only make sense for Facebook to move in this direction, but if this were the case, could it keep up with the hype? “At this point, probably not,” says Blodget, “and I think I should say that the idea of a phone, an actual hardware unit, is crazy. Zuckerberg’s already said it’s crazy. It just doesn’t make any sense.” What Blodget might be referring to is when Zuckerberg said in an earnings call last July that “building out a whole phone…wouldn’t make much sense for us to do.” Perhaps Facebook is now thinking otherwise.
- Some sort of video/communications product
While we don’t have concrete details about this announcement yet, we can speculate in our minds what a new and improved “communications product” would translate into for Facebook. Most understandably is the addition of a new video communications product or advertising project, which would include video advertisements in one’s newsfeed and Facebook pages. While this would seem like the prime choice for Facebook for revenue-boosting reasons, it probably wouldn’t smooth over as well for its users. (Let’s be honest, no one likes chunky, inconvenient video ads, ever). Nevertheless, video is what Blodget is betting on, along with many, many others.
Until then, all we have to refer to is the small yet sizable message contained in the invites sent out, which say, “Come and see what we’re building.” Tomorrow, we’ll all find out.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli