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There are two big moves that Facebook could make to disrupt the tech industry in the coming years. Let's break them down.
1. Bring augmented reality to the masses
Facebook is well known for its 2 billion dollar acquisition of Oculus Rift and for touting to developers at its Facebook F8 conference that it sees virtual reality as an important part of the next evolution of social networking.
However, the company is also reportedly working on augmented reality. Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles have given us a hint at what's possible in AR, and Pokemon Go showed the social power that AR can have, but the field is still open for one of the tech giants to make a big play. And Facebook, with its massive database of information about people, places, and businesses, has a huge opportunity to layer useful info on top of the real world. Also, image what AR glasses will mean for the future of Facebook Live.
SEE: VR and AR: The Business Reality (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)
2. Challenge Amazon AWS as a cloud provider
In the cloud computing world, Amazon AWS continues to redefine what's possible for businesses. You can now build a world class infrastructure on AWS in a fraction of the time it would have taken in the past. That's why AWS continues to dwarf its competitors in the cloud market, despite Microsoft Azure making progress and the Google Cloud Platform trying to elbow its way in.
But, the biggest threat to AWS could come from Facebook, if Facebook decides to do the same thing Amazon has done and use what it's learned about building infrastructure for its core business and offer it as a platform that other companies can build on. Because Facebook has already proven itself as an infrastructure innovator with the Open Compute Project, becoming a cloud provider is a very logical next step—especially now that Facebook can see how much money Amazon is making in the cloud.
Keep in mind that as one of the tech world's newest emerging giants, Facebook is going to try out lots of different innovations in the years ahead. However, these two are likely to be the two most important ones—and the two that will have the biggest impact for businesses.
- Facebook to invest $3B in VR over next decade to reach more users (TechRepublic)
- How to become a Unity developer for VR and AR (TechRepublic)
- Photos: A look inside Google's, Microsoft's and Facebook's datacenters (TechRepublic)
- Free ebook: Executive's guide to the business value of VR and AR (TechRepublic)
- Video: The biggest challenges and opportunities facing Amazon Web Services (TechRepublic)
- Facebook contributes telecom designs, plans to Telecom Infra Project, adds partners (ZDNet)
- Facebook to outline Lumos, its machine learning platform for images (ZDNet)
Jason Hiner has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.