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January 10, 2013

Enigmatic Facebook Invitation Has Tech World Buzzing

“Come and see what we’re building.”

That was the message numerous media outlets received this week courtesy of Facebook.

Other than the cryptic sentence above, the e-mailed invitation listed the date: Jan. 15 and time: 10 a.m. along with the social network’s head office address.

The invitation has the rumor mills grinding.

According to Wisemetrics, a Facebook analytics provider, the largest social media site will debut its social commerce strategy.

“Facebook has been working on this subject for quite a few months, and we know that Facebook has a lot of expectations (that) it may become a large source of revenues,” the blog post reads.

“Recently, Facebook has discreetly added a ‘Products’ app linked to ‘Wishlists’ in the activity log. It’s highly probable this ‘Products’ app will join the line of Facebook social plugins already available.”

Despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s public assertions that a Facebook phone “just doesn’t make any sense,” many are speculating the Jan. 15 event will be the day the social network will unveil plans to produce its own Smartphone.

The hype began when the device codenames for 35 HTC Smartphones were recently leaked online. On the list was the moniker Opera_UL, which many say is the codename for the Facebook phone.

A report by the New York Times last year indicated Facebook had hired several Apple engineers, who had worked on the iPhone and iPad., to create a Facebook handset.

While a Smartphone was the most popular guess, backed by several media outlets, it certainly wasn’t the only hypothesis.

Another interesting idea: Facebook’s event — which is on the same day its partner, Microsoft, will shut Messenger down for good in favor of Skype — may have something to do with a new update for its IM service.

Some media outlets released joking predictions about the mysterious announcement.

Gizmodo’s take: Facebook has finally invented a cyborg plug-in for users’ brains, so they “can instantly over-share literally everything.”

Another suggestion according to Mobile & Apps: “The company could just be announcing new web features, like ramped up search, or getting Zuckerberg to bore journalists with more details and graphs of Facebook’s social graph.”

The Weekly World News, is predicting the site will shut down “forever” Jan. 15. According to the tabloid, managing the site has Zuckerberg stressed out.

“Facebook has gotten out of control,” the story says, supposedly quoting Zuckerberg, “and the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness.”

With six days left before the event, it is likely the speculation, both serious and silly will continue.