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The next 10 years of Facebook: lasers, space and virtual reality

In the last 10 years, how far has Facebook come? And how different is it now to how it was in the beginning? Facebook went from nothing to being THE social network pretty fast, exclusively in the realm of university students originally, it went on to define a new kind of personal communication, used today by 1.59 BILLION people globally. Facebook now owns WhatsApp (1 billion users) and Instagram (400 million users) as well as the virtual reality brand Oculus Rift, and that’s just for starters.

So if that’s starters, we’ve just come on to main course. Because this week at Facebook’s f8 conference we saw the social network ushering in Chat Bots, which will allow brands new ways to feed information and communicate directly with Facebook’s users. We also saw boss Mark Zuckerberg announce Facebook’s roadmap for the next 10 years, which includes the internet traveling over lasers, social media virtual reality, drones (obviously!) and artificial intelligence.

Courtesy of Mark Zuckerberg

Then to top this all off, yesterday the news came out that Stephen Hawking, backed by philanthropist Yuri Milner and working with Facebook’s Zuckerberg, announced ‘Breakthrough Starshot’, a project to send minuscule featherweight spacecraft into the cosmos so far that they will be able to explore planets that might have life, and that would otherwise have taken 70,000 years to get to. The tiny space ships will travel on lasers, meaning they can approach the speed of light, or rather the speed of Facebook’s future internet. Wowsers.

All brands should take a look at what Facebook has released this week, as the announcements are opening up new ways to engage directly with audiences, and in the longer term Facebook’s innovations are showing just how the social web and how messaging apps will connect us in the far future.

So will Facebook beam the internet to these planets it is going to discover, using its 10 year roadmap lasers? Or will we just beam information back on whether we’ve discovered life? I’m just excited to see this far future sooner than I thought was ever possible.