The “Feedization” Of The Web (continued)

Bearceo

Back in March 2006 I wrote a post about the "feedization of the web UI" where I observed that I was seeing more and more web UIs that reminded me of the news feeds that are common in the financial markets. I predicted that we’d see more of that in the coming years.

And as the NY Times Magazine points out today in a great piece by Clive Thompson:

He [Zuckerberg] developed something he called News Feed, a built-in service that
would actively broadcast changes in a user’s page to every one of his
or her friends. Students would no longer need to spend their time
zipping around to examine each friend’s page, checking to see if there
was any new information. Instead, they would just log into Facebook,
and News Feed would appear: a single page that — like a social gazette
from the 18th century — delivered a long list of up-to-the-minute
gossip about their friends, around the clock, all in one place. “A
stream of everything that’s going on in their lives,” as Zuckerberg put
it.

The Facebook news feed appeared in September 2006, initially to outrage about "too much information", but as Clive Thompson tells in the Times, users got used to it and now it’s the heart of the Facebook service.

It’s also the heart of the twitter service, the friendfeed service, and a host of other services. And we’ve now got AIR clients like Twhirl that bring all these social feeds to the desktop and iPhone apps like Twinkle and Twitterific that bring them to the phone (please build Twitterific or Twinkle for bberry!).

This aggregation of information into a news feed has been adopted by many of the new web services that we get to see in our office every week. I’d say its the most common web UI/home page we see these days. Services like outside.in which launched with a more newspaper like front page a couple years ago have adopted the feed UI as well.

Here’s a screen shot of my outside.in radar this morning.

Radar

Radar is the Facebook News Feed for your neighborhood. What really excites me about this neighborhood feed is that all of the items in it are interesting and relevant to me. The tweet about the gaucamole at Los Dados was sent to my friend Alex Lines by someone I don’t know but will now find out who they are (just like twitter or facebook). The story about the Rag and Bone show is interesting because the Gotham Gal and our girls went to that show. The Spotted Pig and Magnolia are local haunts. And The Standard Hotel which is under construction looms large over our neighborhood.

As I said in my post in the spring of 2006,

Most people who have grown up designing magazines or newspapers
probably look at this user interface and think of it as ugly and boring but I think its super efficient

The web continues to grow and browsing is getting less and less efficient. Search was the first solution to that problem and it’s a huge part of the web experience now. Feeds are the second solution to that problem and I believe they will be an equally big part of the web experience. If you look at my google analytics data, you see that search drives only 29% of all visits to this blog and referring links drive over 40%.

Traffic_source

And if you drill down into the referring link traffic, you see that of the top ten referring links to this blog, eight are feed oriented UIs (all but this blog and stumbleupon) and they drive almost 20% of the traffic to this blog.

Top_sources

So feeds are a powerful way for users to navigate the web and get to the information they need. I expect them to get more powerful over time as more users adopt them. Clearly you all are early adopters and the traffic that feeds are driving to this blog is much greater than a more mainstream website would experience.

But think about the Facebook generation. My kids are growing up with the news feed as their start page. Not Yahoo’s portal approach and NOT google’s search box approach. In time, its entirely possible that feeds will be more powerful than search.

So to all the people that say social nets can’t be monetized, just look hard at the feed and think of the possibilities. There’s money in them thar hills.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]