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This article was published on July 9, 2010

Facebook Needs To Sniff Glue, Or Ditch Suggestions

Facebook Needs To Sniff Glue, Or Ditch Suggestions
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

Facebook has endless data, endless servers and endless engineers. Yet, their suggestions feel like an idiot is regurgitating the ‘related’ section of a discount thesaurus – it’s pathetic.  In our humble opinion, it is far beyond time for Facebook to dig deep and figure out a way to fix their suggestions process.

There are startups that do a great good job of this, putting the giant to shame. Facebook should bite the bullet and buy one or two of the best small companies in the field, and bake them into their pie.

Let’s look at Glue as an example. It’s growing faster than people realize, and the reason is because it works. It’s a real-time suggestions and “like” platform that is keeping people entertained by offering ideas that you might not think of.

This is the  complete opposite of Facebook’s approach.

Facebook needs and wants to connect people to what they like. The more data that they have on each user allows for better ad targeting, which equates to more ad revenue for the company.  Facebook has a serious drive to have as much information as possible on each of the 500 million people it services.

Clearly, Facebook needs better tech to do this. Their current algorithms are weak, and behind the times. Facebook does not seem to be focusing on the problem, while other companies are.  Would it be best for Facebook to buy its way out of this hole?

The obvious answer here is yes. Facebook really only has a couple of choices: get better, or get something to make it better. At this point in the game, acquiring a service like Glue is the more obvious choice; it is both simpler and faster, and comes built in with a talented team who know how to execute in the niche.

Facebook is sitting on literally billions in capital, so they might as well invest it into a service that people already know and love. Alternately, Facebook could choose to create its own service, but the results of this we’ve seen time and time again. Even with a huge user base, it’s harder to pull someone toward something similar, instead of just letting them use what they already have.

Even more, Glue has a strong, dedicated user base, and good working relationships with publishers and other owners of IP that Facebook could work well with. In short, Glue not only solved Facebook’s problem, but improves the larger paradigm.  Best of all, the company could be bought with Facebook stock on the cheap.

This is the beauty of tech startups and the Open Graph as a whole. Glue is already connected into the larger world of Facebook via the ever popular Facebook connect. It only makes sense that it’s already widely compatible. Facebook is in a prime position to do exactly what Twitter has been so successful with in the past: let 3rd party developers make great applications, and then snatch them up into your own stable for a few piles of shares.

Will we see an acquisition? We hope so. We love Glue and Facebook, to have those peas in the same pod would be a delight indeed.

Brad McCarty and Alex Wilhelm co-wrote this post.

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