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Facebook Joins Google In The Hunt For The Future | TechCrunch

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We now live in an era when Mark Zuckerberg speed-dials Obama, controls fleets of drones, brokers $19 billion acquisitions in a week, and buys whole virtual worlds. Facebook’s mission has changed. While once it was solely “to make the world more open and connected”, it’s expanded to also “give people the power to share.” And nothing is too crazy if it brings Facebook one step closer to that goal.


Since Facebook’s share price surpassed its $38 IPO mark in August, we’ve seen it act like a much bolder company:

  • It launched alongside six telecom heavyweights with the goal of connecting the 5 billion people who currently lack Internet.
  • It started the Facebook Artificial Intelligence lab on NYU’s campus to research data science, deep learning, machine learning, and software that can think for itself.
  • It admitted its mobile app can’t be everything to everyone, and unveiled the Facebook Creative Labs initiative to build standalone mobile experiences starting with the radically-designed Facebook Paper.
  • It spent $19 billion to buy WhatsAppin a bid to dominate mobile messaging in the third world. For many, WhatsApp is their first taste of the Internet.
  • It acquired Oculus for $2 billion to control what it believes is the next critical computing platform and the future of human connection.
  • And today it unveiled the Facebook Connectivity Lab, which is building solar-powered drones and satellites to beam Internet to the developing world.

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Compare that to any seven months of moves in the past few years and it will look like Zuckerberg started watching too many sci-fi movies. But actually, he’s been turning Facebook’s new three-part mission into a reality. The CEO explained his plans on the call to investorsfollowing the Oculus acquisition announcement:

“I’ve framed our strategy as three high-level goals over the next ten years- connecting everyone, one; two, understanding the world; and three, building the knowledge economy.

With this acquisition, now each of those initiatives has an ambitious long-term bet associated with it, in addition to our important near-term work as well.

For number one, connecting everyone, for the long term we have, our initiative to make free basic internet services available to everyone in the world. And for connecting everyone, we also have our near-term efforts for our messaging and growth.

For number two, understanding the world, we have our ambitious AI Research Group, which is trying to build a unified model of how every person [inside] the world is connected to each other. In the near term, our efforts here are in search and News Feed, and will help your network surface more useful information to you.

And for number three, building the knowledge economy, that’s really about building future technology platforms. And we now have Oculus joining us, which long term can be one of the next important computing platforms. And of course we will continue to focus on our extremely important work of building out our advertising platform as well, as part of this.”

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