Live-blogging Facebook's f8 developer conference: Translations, Connect, fundings, and more

Updated many times: Tons of news items. Skim through below and look for bolded lines.I’m live-blogging Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech at the f8 conference today, here in the San Francisco Design Center. Below are paraphrased quotes from Zuckerberg, in chronological order. Watch for updates through 3:00 pm pacific time.

1:30 pm

First line: “I’m the first to admit I’ve made a lot of mistakes…” with the platform. Trying to encourage high-quality applications.

Talking about mission statement. Came to realization while traveling around the world. Bloggers called it “vision quest” I called vacation. I want to build a product that really allows you to “feel” a person, feel like you’re with someone.

We’re working to make the world a more open place. When most people think about openness or transparency, they think about knowledge and information. But we’re talking about people, not just info that’s written down somewhere. It’s only available if the people themselves have the tools to share it.

In our ecosystem, we’re all doing this together. We want the community and ecosystem to be aligned with us.


1:40 pm

We wanted to let others create more ways to build apps like ours, to help people share information. We just had no clue how far the idea would go. Some partners got excited, some didn’t agree.

Last year at f8, we had 24 million users. By the end of this year, we may hit 100 million (we’re already at 90 million).

Last year, around 50/50 inside and outside of U.S. Good progress. We’d started out as little American company, in a dorm room. Large numbers in English-speaking country: Canada, UK, Australia, India.

Talking about user-generated translations. Now open for translation in more than 60-70 languages.

NEWS: opening up translation tool to let developers get their apps translated.

More than 400k developers in world, more than half outside of US. Four other developer “garage” meetups happening now around the world.

ILike has more users than MySpace music.

Causes app fight global warming has nearly 2M users, more than Al Gore’s “Alliance.”

Zynga has 4x more people playing Texas Hold’Em than there are Las Vegas hotel rooms.

More than 30 developers who have received funding to build on platform.

NEWS: Flixter raised $6 million from investment bank Allen & Co. and others. (Also, Zynga, we’d previously covered)

More than $200 million invested into platform companies.

Trying to map out social graph as accurately as possible. Sharing happens across real connections. So all apps can facilitate sharing more easily.

Virtuous cycle of sharing. Feeds surface content, drives consumption, drives more sharing by others.

1:50 pm

NEWS: Day we launched news feed, pretty soon after, traffic went up 50 percent.

ILike struck chord with people quickly, through feeds. People got info in feeds about friends going to concerts, etc.

Lessons learned: [Mark does dramatic pause.]


Not fully baked but wanted to get it out in front of people. Might to take up to half a year to get anyone developing seriously. Been very challenging. A lot of things we need to do differently. We need to work more closely with developers.

Need to reward apps. Haven’t done enough to reward good citizens. Haven’t done enough to punish abusive apps. In order for this whole thing to work out, we need to find a way to reward the best. We’ve also learned to think about simplicity and scale.

We’ve been working with a number of developers to incorporate new features into platform.

Goals for “next evolution of Facebook:”

- Give people more powerful tools to share

- Reward applications that help people share information

- Simplify site

Now talking about site design. Talking about wall+mini feed in new user profile page. Apps that keep people sharing will be rewarded, not about apps that let users stick static stuff on profiles. [Launched on Monday, we have more thoughts on it here.]

2:00 pm

Annoying boxes that popped up asking you to add applications. Those are gone. [Clapping]

Screening video of Bill O’Reilly flipping out, the “We’re doing it live” video. [Mark's cracking jokes about doing it live.]

More demo’ing of redesign… not news, but a nice review.

NEWS: We’ll start to see major social networks turn into decentralized sets of applications. At Facebook we want to move this forward.

[Now, onto Friend Connect stuff.]


2:10 pm

We build core platform, feed structure and set of communication apps. We fully expect that the majority of good applications are going to come from others in the ecosystem. Less of this movement is going to be about Facebook.com. That’s why we built platform.

Connect lets you access feeds, otherwise like regular applications.

Users have control of info wherever they choose to use it.

Other web sites can drop in button, simple html, then connecting to FB. Then person will have access to all info, friend connections from Facebook. Basic identity, like name, picture, more advanced info (everything in profile; photos, events). Privacy controls are coming with it. Person can bring connections, friends with them.

For others who are a person’s friends, who have already linked. Will allow sites to match users email addresses to help friends connect on another site, link via Facebook on other sites.

All of different people using a web site can link through Facebook. This is really powerful [Sure the data portability guys will want to ask who actually owns that data.]

Joking about “Christmas being ruined” [Reference to Beacon advertising.] Learned from last time.

Also make it easy to develop applications on other sites around the web.

These are number of components into first version of Facebook Connect. Now partners are coming on-stage. First will be demo from Digg [as GigaOm mentioned last night].

Joe Stein from Digg now speaking:

Mission at Digg is letting users find, discover, share [like Facebook]. Furthering Digg’s vision.

NEWS: Can one-click register on Digg using Facebook account. No longer have to create long, complex user forms. All Digging activity seamlessly published to Facebook profiles. [Like Friendfeed, etc.]


David Recordon from Six Apart:

NEWS: Facebook comment plugin. Can now comment and leave name, using info from Facebook profile. Can obscure own photo in this comment system [woah, like Disqus]. Simple sign-in process to Movable Type blogs.


2:20 pm

Mike Phillips from CitySearch, local listing service:

NEWS: Going to be launching new site with consumer improvements. Sharing info is one piece of the puzzle. Most important thing is trusted content. We have editorial reviews, user reviews — going to add Facebook friend reviews. Can port FB identity to CitySearch site.

Profile redesign now available for all users [can opt back to older design]. Have beta period for Connect, working with developers.

Aiming for Facebook Connect to redefine platform.

Now Benjaming Ling, leading platform engineer, is coming on stage [ex early Googler].

[Aww, they're showing a video that highlights the more positive headlines that us blogs have written about Facebook over the past year. Brownie points!]


2:30 pm

We have a rich thriving ecosystem…. we had a vision that together with the worlds’ developers, we could make the internet more social. What makes a great social application?

NEWS: Pleased to announce guiding principles for Facebook apps.

- Meaningful:

Being social, make use of social graph, like (lil) Green Patch. Solving real user needs, like carpool application; fifth of Cornell students use this app.

Useful, somehow gives value to users, including entertainment apps.

Expressive, like Graffiti app, drawing sketch to share with friends; partnered with Dell, BMW. Created contests where users can submit drawings.

Engaging apps that pique user interest, Playfish’s Who Has A Bigger Brain, an IQ quiz game. Using Facebook apps, users have played more than 900 million minutes of its games. One million users play its games a day.

- Trustworthy:

Security, keep user info safe.

Respectful, recognize user attention, time. Expect to interact with great new app — shouldn’t have to invite 20 friends; shouldn’t trigger hidden notifications to friends.

Transparent, shouldn’t get lame interstitial ads.

- Well-designed:

Clean: Easy for old and new developers. Not all devs have design skills, but should do user testing

Fast: Shouldn’t have apps load slow

Robust: Should be available, should scale with growth.

Applications should embody these principles to build next great application.

2:40 pm

Should partner more closely with developers. Incorporating more developer feedback into product development cycle.

Round tables where opportunities. Not done a good enough job on developer forums, going to do more. Additionally, organizaiton changes. Staffing up full-time dev community management organization within Facebook.

Wanted to be open, but was too a fault [cuz of spam]. Then we were too restrictive. Need to help you create more and better applications.

NEWS: Pleased to announce several developer programs. New Facebook developers will get help.

Partnered with Microsoft for development help, Joyent for hosting and Amazon for scaling. Facebook offering new dev web site.


NEWS: fbFund has seen 1000 applications, reviewed. Announcing initial recipients:

Challenge

mylisto

Trazzler

[bunch of others....]

Connected weddings — can arrange wedding dinner seating based on friend connections.

NEWS: Kicking off new competition. $2 million over two months. New companies and new ideas can submit new ideas, 25 finalists will get 25k. Then users vote and top 5 get $250,000.

For developers that have been around for awhile.

NEWS: Facebook verification program and Facebook Great Apps program.

Being trustworthy is very important to the ecosystem. Invite apps that meet criteria to be verified. Will get manual and auto review to offer users additional insurances. Users will eventually trust applications more.

Badge that will display verification on app page and in app directory. Will get extra visibility.

Great Apps: must embody all 10 principles, and help advance mission of Facebook. On top of this, applications that are great will have a minimum user base and strong history of adherence to principles.

These apps will get greater exposure within Facebook, will be treated more like native Facebook applications. Will have access to Facebook feedback.

Two inaugural partners, iLike and Causes.

ILike is leading provider of online ticket sales, doing live streaming [we covered earlier this week]. Causes provides a bunch of nonprofits with fundraising.

[In other words, these programs intend to create incentives to not abuse users.]

2:50 pm

Have had to take applications down that violate trust.

Going forward, we want to articulate how we’ll be safe for users and good for developers. Communicated guiding principles. We’ll publish list of best practices. We’ll also be enforcing. Simply impractical to write out all possible ways that applications can be deceptive. In world of principles, important to be more transparent.

Will take efforts to be more consistent. Apply standards to small and large applications alike.

NEWS: Announcing Facebook Connect for iPhone using Cocoa framework.

NEWS: Open Web Foundation. David Recordon will announce Open Web Foundation tomorrrow. Facebook will be supporting, making contributions to Open Web Foundation[not sure what this means, exactly.]

[photos: (CC) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com and bub.blicio.us.]


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