Facebook is among the most global of modern technology companies. Its one billion users are located around the world, and come from different countries and cultures. Facebook does its best to accommodate all these different people – its product is available in as many as 101 different languages. It is available in Urdu, which is written right to left, and also in Corsican and Yiddish, both languages which are on the verge of extinction. But Facebook seems to go out of its way to make sure the Facebook experience is consistent for everyone.
All Facebook users are familiar with the little world icon that light up a deep red when they receive a notification.
Now users in India see the globe like seen above – a large portion of Asia and Africa dominates the world map.
But a tiny switch happens if you access Facebook from a different location. Users signing in from the US see a different version of the map.
In the US version, the globe rotates, and North America and South America are at the forefront on the icon. This was tested by logging in from different proxies – even changing your virtual location causes Facebook to make this tiny change.
Now it might not seem like a lot – hardly anyone is ever going to notice the change, and it’s hard to quantify in terms of usual business metrics. It’ll be impossible to quantify whether something like this would increase usage time, or lower bounce rate. But it offers a glimpse of the attention to detail Facebook puts in its products. This one was detected – there are presumably hundreds of such little innovations that are hidden from public view. And maybe that’s what accounts for its success – there were several social networks that came before Facebook, and there have been hundreds since it was founded – but none has come close in its global reach and success. And while most of it is thanks to its usability, speed, and features, maybe what accounts for its success is the love of product.