hundreds of millions of tech-savvy young people have instead turned to a wave of smartphone-based messaging apps that are now sweeping across North America, Asia and Europe.
The hot apps include Kik and Whatsapp, both products of North American startups, as well as Kakao Inc's KakaoTalk, NHN Corp's LINE and Tencent Holdings Ltd's WeChat, which have blossomed in Asian markets.
Combining elements of text messaging and social networking, the apps provide a quick-fire way for smartphone users to trade everything from brief texts to flirtatious pictures to YouTube clips - bypassing both the SMS plans offered by wireless carriers and established social networks originally designed as websites.
Facebook Inc, with 1 billion users, remains by far the world's most popular website, and its stepped-up focus on mobile has made it the most-used smartphone app as well. Still, across Silicon Valley, investors and industry insiders say there is a possibility that the messaging apps could threaten Facebook's dominance over the next few years . . .
Is Facebook the Next Friendster?
Some of you out there probably will not remember Friendster, and that is probably for the best. When Facebook first started to become popular, it was often referred to as the next Friendster, and people quickly dropped out of Friendster and similar sites, such as Myspace, in favor of the new social network. Now it appears young people are opting out of Facebook for phone-based messaging apps. This was likely inevitable. From Reuters: