While Facebook today is an absolute juggernaut, with about one in seven humans on the planet being a "monthly active user," it's almost hard to remember that before November 2007, MySpace was the biggest game in town. Since then, MySpace has more or less been relegated to punchline status, a desolate place with fewer users than it had twinkling background GIFs. But it seems MySpace is about to launch a dramatic redesign of the site that brings its interface well and truly into the touch-screen era and, frankly, makes the gigantic Facebook site look a bit stodgy and old-fashioned in comparison.
Competition drives innovation – and while Facebook has certainly innovated in the last five years, just about every step along the way has been met with furious complaints from its user base. Case in point: Timeline.
Still, despite the adverse user reaction to such minor changes, the overall look and feel of the Facebook site is still very much the same as it was when the majority of us got on board. It looks a bit "Web 2.0" – and while I'm not sure exactly which release number web we're supposed to be up to right now, things have definitely moved on.
There's a sense out there that Facebook's gigantic user base and its famous resistance to change is slowing the company down - but with Google Plus failing to capture peoples' imaginations, there's really been very few genuine alternatives for people wanting to jump ship.
That may be about to change. The desolate, tumbleweed-filled plains of MySpace may bear fruit again. In a video released yesterday, MySpace showed off a brand new interface, heavily influenced by tablet computing and Windows 8, that blows the doors off Facebook and Google Plus in a purely visual sense.
Check out the video:
Perhaps one of the most powerful features will be the ability to auto-connect and import your Facebook friend lists. One wonders how long that functionality will survive if this becomes a genuine competitor to Zuckerberg's virtual monopoly.
The interface is highly visual, featuring full-page background photos and videos, so it'll chew a ton more bandwidth than Facebook or Google Plus, but then most of the first world has long handed in its dial-up internet. Cable, DSL and 4G mobile connections are widening the pipe for the average joe to a degree where the minimalist designs of Facebook and Google may cease to be an advantage.
It actually looks like this new iteration might make MySpace actually become relevant again. It certainly seems worth a look – I'm always hunting for new ways to tell people what I had for breakfast. My people need to know, damn it!
Take a closer look at the interface by looking through our huge photo gallery.