Though it was unclear if the ambitious concept would actually materialize, it seemed revolutionary and distinct from everything the company had ever done. But then the DARPA executive left Facebook a few months later. A year later, Building 8 was renamed Portal, just like the Portal smartphone Facebook allowed it to compete with a similar Amazon app.
Facebook remains one of the world’s most valuable, largest and best-known technology firms. It, along with Google, dominates the market for online advertisements. In recent years, however, it has created many more news for the cloning of common features by rivals than it does for the construction of groundbreaking features and products of its own.
Instead of brain tech or other new hardware gadgets, Facebook has launched a long list of copycat products from YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Slack. Facebook took on popular dating apps, introduced a Craigslist rival, and famously ripped off Snapchat’s most popular feature stories in 2016, shortly before the latter became public.
But persistent and very public attempts at cloning often pose fundamental concerns regarding Facebook’s capacity to innovate, which is sometimes considered to be the lifeblood of every technology business. Facebook is definitely not the first or only tech company to copy products—every online platform seems to have copied TikTok to some degree, like Snapchat and YouTube. But it’s also hard to recall the last time Facebook came up with something genuinely revolutionary that was it’s own.
To be fair, it’s hard to innovate, and moonshots are just that. Google has invested billions of dollars in ventures ranging from its groundbreaking internet balloon venture to self-driving vehicles and has been more vigilant in shutting down tractionless experiments.
Facebook has undergone some major changes in the years after it implemented the News Feed in 2006, and helped to transform the way people access information online. It unveiled a Facebook tablet, experimented with a solar-powered flying Internet drone, and a new cryptocurrency TBD. Many other flops can be seen scattered all over the user’s homepage in the form of buttons that are seldom used.
On the other side, some of its attempts have been highly effective in imitating rivals. Its Snapchat clone, Instagram Stories, has become the predecessor for millions of people to interact and connect. Facebook Marketplace has been developed as a common and appearance of a safer choice to the Craigslist.
On Wednesday, after Facebook develops a Clubhouse-related audio chat product, New York Times announced that Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said that the company “always exploring ways to improve” audio and video experience. Osborne also said that the Silicon Valley tale is a continuous iteration and enhancement of innovations and goods, making more customer choices.
Also, her brain-typing technology has not been entirely new. Less than a month ago, Elon Musk decided to connect computers’ brains. Other interfaces between brain and machine have been in place for decades. And hoping that one day it will wake up to a Facebook pitch that it really invented something as interesting as a brain reader rather than another iteration of a product we have seen before.