Facebook claims half a billion members

The popular social networking site known as Facebook has achieved yet another significant milestone: 500 million members.

An obviously pleased Mark Zuckerberg celebrated the occasion by launching a new application dubbed “Stories,” which allows users to share their Facebook related tales and read hundreds of others.

“Our mission is to help make the world more open and connected. Stories [or] examples of that mission and are both humbling and inspiring,” the young CEO wrote in a blog post commemorating the momentous event.

“I could have never imagined all of the ways people would use Facebook when we were getting started 6 years ago.”

So what is next for Facebook? Will the site be able to claim the unimaginable figure of 1 billion users within the next few years?

Well, Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com, told Mercury News that FB’s continued success could result in a “New Web Order” which may eventually threaten Google. 

“Do you think it’s easier for Google to add social or Facebook to add search? My answer is that it’s easier for Facebook to do search. I’m very optimistic about Facebook…[So], Google, look out,” said Metcalfe.

“[Now], you would expect the exponential growth to turn into an S-curve as it caps out. But…even it falls short of a billion, it figures to maintain an orbit at lofty altitude. The network effects and prospects of user engagement [will] continue to grow, as individuals make more connections to other people or games, businesses [and] causes.”

Jeremiah Owyang, a social media consultant with Altimeter Group, expressed similar sentiments.

“They’ve still got a ways to go before they reach saturation…Facebook’s potential market size is as large as the online communication market [itself].”