“Hub-Spoke” was the term previously used to describe the navigation patterns of users when navigating on the web. User started their “surf sessions” from mainly one point and then directly went to another, just to return to their homepage afterwards. Then, as search engines got better, the days of “hyperlinks” had come and users indeed used the links to move from one site to the next as it got increasingly easier to place high quality links due to good search engines.
What I see happening with Google and even more with Facebook today is that users always follow the way that has the lowest transactions costs and in the same way the search window has doomed your browser’s address line, Google (iGoogle) and Facebook (Facebook’s News Feed) are nowadays working on providing you all the information you want “just one mouse-click” away.
Most clearly this phenomenon can be watched on Facebook which is currently working hard on integrating web content right into the News Feed of their users. Thus users are kept on the site much longer and only leave the site (in e.g. the case of a commercial transaction) at a very late stage, giving Facebook a chance to supply the user with advertisements all the way down.
Integrating interesting content however isn’t as easy as it sounds and thus Facebook relies on two soucres:
– User generated content (Tweets, Status Updates, etc.)
– Online Content Generators (online newspapers, etc.)
As for the first it seems much easier to supply a stream of tweets and Updates than to constantly have a finger on the pulse of the web, almost predicting which information will be of interest for the community a second later. As the community inevitably however will demand further information and subsequently will search for them, Microsoft’s Bing will be used to provide these information -still within Facebook-. As Google has shown however, it is still very difficult for search engines to differentiate between a DOS-attack and breaking news such as Michael Jackson’s demise.
As for the second Facebook keeps pushing content generators to open FB’s subsidiaries (Fan-pages) in which they publish their content (along with ads which generate revenues for Facebook). This seems to work just fine… and you might have realized that last Face-lift of Facebook has definitely also pushed the News Feed into the Foreground.