Is Facebook Playing Catch-up?

By Megan McMahon Facebook has more than 750 million users and is without a doubt the powerhouse when it comes to social networks. However, two things in the past few days have struck me as copycat-esque updates in the Facebook world.

Before I get into what I’ve seen recently from Mark and team, let’s backtrack to the launch of Facebook Places and Deals. The launch came shortly after the Foursquare boom. Creating a location-based service allowing users to check in on their mobile app and give consumers deals at certain places is one thing. But creating a logo that clearly imitates that of the biggest competitor? That’s another thing.

Of course Facebook denied any sort of copycatting creation in the making of this logo even though we are clearly looking at a FOUR in a SQUARE above. But now onto the last few days in the Facebook world and two things I’ve seen…

Update 1: By now you have all heard about the launch of the new Friend List feature on Facebook. And I’m sure that you’ve compared it to that of the Circles on Google +. Difference between the two: my mom has no idea that Google + even exists. BUT I’m sure that she’ll be grouping me and my brother into a “Family” Friend List on Facebook when the feature is available to her. Friend List is a massive win for Facebook. It’s the solution to the lameness of the feature that debuted in 2007 (which I was actually made fun of for using because it took so much time to put together) and will prove that Facebook still may have the edge over Google+. And naturally, Facebook denied that this feature was in direct response to Google+ Circles but really the public will never know if this Friend List feature was actually a creation 4 years in the making as they claim it to be.

Update 2: If you haven’t updated the Facebook app on your iPhone recently I suggest that you do because the new subtle but important features are surely ones to rave about. In particular, the interface now looks much more like the desktop website and you can prominently see information about your friends right next to their profile pictures. Now, this may be a stretch but I see a direct correlation between this update and the complete revamping of the LinkedIn Mobile App. Now on Facebook you can easily find out where a person works and what their position is. Ultimately, Facebook is no LinkedIn when it comes to professional networking however, when it’s about networking on-the-go, Facebook has made it much easier to research job info on a mobile device and positions themselves a little bit more as a one-stop-shop for social networking needs.

I am not knocking Facebook for these updates that seem copycat-esque, I’m just simply bringing up the fact that there’s a chance that because they’re the social media powerhouse the network can strike when the iron is hot immediately following new feature launches of their competitors. Facebook might be playing catch-up or they may just have a purely brilliant marketing strategy.

Do you think that Facebook plays catch-up or is the network just very good at “right place right time” update launches? What’s your take on Facebook’s recent updates that I noted? Let me know in the comments!