Home, Facebook's new Android app-slash-skin, is worth investigating. It runs along a new axis of user experience, un-cordons the app, and shows how Facebook is becoming less of a product and more of a service.
But beyond being immersive, low-friction, and whatever other buzzword descriptors you'd like to attach to it, Home is a recognition a subtle and profound paradigm shift.
"At one level, [Home] is just the next mobile version of Facebook," Mark Zuckerberg says during the announcement address. "At a deeper level, I think this can start to be a change in the relationship that we have with how we use computing devices."
And as developer/designer/blogger Dustin Curtis notes, Zuckerberg's address is the "epitome of a vision statement," one that shows the philosophy animating Facebook's work.
We know that Zuckerberg has a strong sense of vision—it's one of the reasons he was able to recruit Sheryl Sandberg to his cause. Crucially, Zuckerberg has a keen awareness of the Internet adoption curve. One which, he says, we're just at the beginning of: about 2 billion people are on the Internet today, or about a third of the population.
But in a decade's time, the people with feature phones will have smartphones, meaning that in a few years the majority of people who have this hand-held computing device we call a "smartphone" will have never seen what you'd call a "computer."
For Zuckerberg, this changes everything:
The very definition of what a computer is and what our relationship with it should be hasn't been set for the majority of the world. And when it is, I think a lot of that definition is going to be around people first.
It's an honor to work on these problems, Zuckerberg says. To him, they're right in the Menlo Park company's wheelhouse:
This is a deeply technical problem and it's also a deeply social problem. This is the kind of problem that Facebook, our culture and our community, are uniquely built to work on.
Bottom Line: When you see how the future is coming into present, align your company to be a part of its delivery.