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F8: Facebook developer conference keynote notes; Summary: wow

I was at the Facebook developer conference for part of the day yesterday. The vision outlined in the keynote was incredibly impressive and ambitious. There's plenty of analysis across the Web, but my raw notes just on the keynote below.

I came away very impressed with their vision and their strategy, especially the open-graph and graph api, the limits they’re pushing on privacy and their attempt at building the semantic web; how they’ll use it to benefit the FB experience and other sites. I caught myself saying “Whoa” a couple of times during Bret Taylor’s preso

Raw Notes:

Ambience: I couldn’t help comparing since this venue plays host to a number of conference including Of all the conferences this year, the clear winner is Paypal X; Violinists beat canned, loud rock hands down. Parking was more expensive than I remember it. Keynote was very packed. The person checking me in seemed to become less friendly the minute she saw Google on the badge (Reminder: next year go back to registering with YouTube as company :))

Interesting RFID play: Facebook Presence: All the attendees got a FB presence tag to tap at points in the conference, which automatically updated their FB pages. Cute.

Other: Its now officially impossible to go to one of these without running into Xooglers. 3 chats/handshakes/hugs/whatre-you-upto-now later I was in the keynote, which started 10 mins late.
Facebook employees kept cheering to try to get the crowd going; didn't really work..this is always a dangerous strategy. :) When I looked up from my laptop, Mark Zuckerberg was speaking already.


Keynote:

Mark Zuckerberg, clearly improving as a public speaker, but isn’t Steve Jobs...yet.

F8 1: was about announcing the FB Platform
F8 2: was about FB Connect
F8 3: We'll transform the Web as we know it.

Todays talk is going to be about a few key themes:

Theme 1: Open graph we're all building together and the connections are happening all over the web
Theme 2: Instantly social, and the lessons we’ve learned from partners re: connect
Theme 3: Simple to do.

How are we doing?

  • Users: 400M and gowing faster than ever before; “your users are already on FB and if they aren't they will be soon”; first giggles
  • Mobile: users have grown 5X in the last year
  • Connect: 100M people using this (Wow: that’s a lot more than I thought!)
  • 9 out of 10 new sites use it; Top 10 iPhone apps; 20 TechCrunch 50 startsup (i.e. we’re a really big deal :))

Announcing policy changes: to make things simpler

  • Combining all the permissions dialog into a single permissions dialog; explains it to them clearly; (One-step permission) - (This is smart!)
  • Re you can cache things more than 24 hours; (first real applause - this is really impressive and bold; it’ll make things simpler for developers, though there is a risk to UX; they’ve done the math and weighed the risks and opened things up for developers betting that the devs will do the right thing for the users; smart!)
  • Credits: you can use a single currency in every app you use; so far we've been focussed on scaling; 100 applications in closed beta; but we're looking to expand this now; focusing on scaling it out to the whole ecosystem (including FB Connect sites)

Lets start on the big announcement of the day:

  • Open graph: a web that is smarter and more semantically aware
  • Lets talk about what people are doing;
    • posting to the stream;
    • but this is ephemeral; services that consume the stream don't understand the semantic relationship; making it possible to make those connections; this makes a lot of things really possible

e.g. start understanding the semantics of these things; (I’m not a fan of the graphics of the preso, but the idea is powerful:))


Few pieces of new technology
1) New version of the Graph API (open platform)
2) Social plug-ins on top of the Graph API: CNN example; no log in and no connect required to CNN;
3) showed the example of a log-in; and a ilike (interesting, taking a pro-UX; let’s be bold with privacy stand.)


Bret Taylor (Director of Platform Product): to go through the details:

  • Really great, crisp preso: they learn so well at Google. :)

1) former CEO of Friendfeed (I miss you, Friendfeed) - there was a magic number of friends you need to get to be be active; the magic number was 5. but you had to get to the number 5 and this was hard. Until FB Connect it was really hard to get users to add 5 friends; after that it almost made sense to give up other logins for a site like ours.

As a developer however, the experience sucked; too many lines of code. The idea is to make the FB platform much more simple.
“Objectively, this was a pretty bad experience”

So what do we have:

  • Social Plugins: instant personalization: no need to log-in; personalized code; (reminds me of Friend Connect plug-ins, but nicer without the need to log in or give your site permissions)
  • the center is the Like button; lowering the friction of sharing to close to zero; iFrame.
  • Get distribution from Facebook feed and automatically add to different aspects in the site

Key here is that the FB cookies this; this is huge; biggest data play; Other plugins:


  • Activity stream plug-in
  • Currently live on Cnn.com homepage; recommendations plug-in; truly personalized recommendations with a single line of html
  • Sign-up rate should increase dramatically with friends identified even before you register for a site.
  • Social bar: this is bascially a lot of the features that Google Friend Connect has; makes it bolder by not requiring permission and connect;

Open Graph protocol:

  • Understand the point; likes are ephemeral
  • Open Graph protocol; set of metatags to mark up pages; marking up the web semantically; e.g. really deep ways on facebook.com; like button on every movie on imdb.com;
  • Liking this doesn't just publish to your feed, it also adds this to the movies you like (This is smart. I’ve avoided investing in adding to these parts of my profile exactly because this was too much work; they’ve effectively drops things to zero; Facebook, say hello to more of my data :))
  • Launching with 30 partners; from books and movies to celebs and athelets (ESPN.com) - great use case here; Like an athelete on ESPN, becomes an entity you connect with on facebook. (Who'd have thunk it? Facebook is going to take a crack at the semantic web)

  • Graph API: re-imagine our core ; re-architected the platform from the ground up; http://graph.facebook.com; json representation of everything via a URL; (bascially a RESTful interface to everything; applies to everything; really significant change to platform; need to take a look at the ToS; but this is impressive)
  • Search capability in the graph API: ability to search over the entire corpus of the public API; (Gasp; someone at Twitter cried a little inside, no?
  • Real-time baked directly into the API: register a call-back API; big win for developers and users
  • Completely re-vamping authentication; adopting OAuth started; (wow; they decided they've been closed long enough to win; This is pretty sharp. I may be overthinking this, but they stayed closed long enough not to risk their users and now decided the network effects they have going
  • Again, "Objectively, our authentication system sucked."
    • Pretty solid; 5 days (current FB authenticaiont) -> 5 mins (now)
  • Expect that in the first 24 hours, we'll serve 1BN like buttons.

Zuckerberg is back:

Most things don't really use your own identity; normal products with one or two social features tacked on to the side. building towards a web where the default is social.

“One more thing to show you before we leave” -
(huh,
Steve Jobs homage?)

  • Microsoft: Docs.com (an online version of their office suite that makes it easy to share online)
  • Nice!; both from msft and facebook; the assumption is that every ; designed to be social; docs.com
  • Also Pandora; as a new user...starts playing music from bands that work all across the web pretty impressive. "Everything is more social, and its easier to build"

Quick story: started with his girlfriend and a Dean of medicine, but punchline was; what's the mission for our community? how much better the world would be if there was more information ; world could be a lot better and we could make it that way....just stop already;

Heaven: all your friends are there and its what you want it to be; so lets make it that way here. (Nice. Cheezy, but I tend to like cheezy. :))

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