I have a ton of respect for Facebook’s product team, they consistently launch innovative products that pull their users, often kicking and screaming, into more engaging experiences. This requires two key skills:

1. Vision: predict what your customers want before anyone knows they’d use it. The next big thing looks like a toy.

In my opinion, Zuckerberg, Cox and others on Facebook’s Product team should be given the inaugural Henry Ford award. Facebook delivers what it’s customers actually want, despite their lack of knowledge that they want it. This is daily occurrence for fb: Closed Networks, NewsFeed, Profile Redesign, Open Graph, Platform, Pages, Internationalization, Chat, Privacy, Groups — and the list goes on.

2. Know when your customers are ready for the next bite-sized part your vision. Without this part, you aren’t successful, you are ahead of your time.

Facebook’s location patent was filed years before the launch of places. The “Awesome Button” (now Open Graph’s Like button) was built, to a launch ready state in November of 2007.

With that history in mind, I watch new product updates with fascination, and each new release inspires me to think about what might be next.

After the jump, reposted from Involver’s comprehensive post on Facebook Groups, is my take on what could be possible in the future.

Facebook could integrate Groups, Events, and Places to create a rich experience for users, with compelling value for brand marketers, business owners, and event hosts.


How Would Facebook Integrate Groups, Events and Places?

Two weeks ago, I was in Lee’s Summit, Missouri visiting with my grandparents. I happened to be there during the town’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, which featured a Ferris wheel, several rides, and concessions. This was a natural event to check out with my close family members, but also one that made sense to invite a larger group of family and friends to.

With the new Groups feature engaged through a mobile device, I could have simply opened the Willis Family Group and created an event — which would in turn automatically invite my family members. After that, I could also have invited additional local friends individually.

At the fairgrounds, I could have taken out my mobile phone and checked-in on Facebook Places. Facebook would know I was at the Octoberfest event and would automatically create a type of group that allowed me to use chat to co-ordinate with my friends there, ask them questions or share photos and updates.

These items would then be shared with my friends who were either invited to the event or were currently there and would let us create and keep memories around the experiences of our life in a shared way with the people in our group. After the event, our group would persist as a means to store that experience and be another shared connection for all of us.

There’s no guarentee that Facebook will build this product, but if you recall the example shared by Chris Cox (Vice President of Product) at the Places launch, it certainly seems like it might be on their minds:

“Technology does not need to estrange us from one another,” Cox said, imagining a scenario of a person going to a bar and being able to see anecdotes from friends’ earlier visits. “The physical reality comes alive with the human stories we have told there.

Stories are going to be pinned to a physical location so that in 20 years our children will go to Ocean Beach and their phone will tell them this is the place their parents had their first kiss, and here’s the picture they took afterward, and here’s what their friends had to say,” Cox said. [source]

This would be a fantastic product for users, but it would be welcomed equally by event hosts and place owners… [read more on Involver's blog].