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I’m here at Facebook HQ in Palo Alto, Calif. for a presentation. Apparently this is going to be a long one, so I figured I’d live blog it.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is up first. Here’s what he’s saying (paraphrased):
- In 2004, people weren’t sharing a lot of things online.
- In 2006, there was an inflection point — there was more interest in getting updates on other people’s activity.
- Now, a lot more information is passing through feeds. In the future, location stuff will come through that.
- Hundreds of millions of things are shared a day. Over a billion photos are shared a month.
- Mention of Twitter — it’s doing interesting things about the pace of information and moving really quickly.
- Also mention of MySpace.
- Today: A few steps toward more information sharing.
Chris Cox, director of product development, and one of the first people to help on the newsfeed.
- Talk about how News feed is evolving.
- Dropped out of school because he heard of this thing called the “feed.”
- Two products are launching in the next two weeks.
- “The media is the message.” Would have been really cool if Marshall McLuhan was alive to see the Internet.
- The original Facebook was basically an address book. But people were going around and seeing what was changing everyday.
- In 2006, we started to focus the profile on what was going on. We built News Feed — the launch was pretty disruptive.
- In 2007, we built Platform, thinking let’s invite developers who are also thinking about this stuff to be a part of this system.
- In 2008, we wanted to redesign the idea to focus on the Wall. After the launch, engagement on the site went up.
- Now in 2009, we’re growing very quickly — 175 million users in March 2009.
- When my mom signed up I started thinking about things a little more differently. Then my mom’s mom signed up…
- Currently, there are friends, family, coworkers and public figures.
- From the Graph -> Stream -> Connect. This is what we’re focusing on in 2009.
- Today: Profiles for everyone.
- Users receive updates from profiles as much as they want — you can just open up the stream of updates, not the profile itself. Profiles can now talk to a large audience.
- Pages are now getting their own profiles. We want CNN to be able to post into your stream.
- Launch partners: CNN, U2 and Barack Obama
- Over the next week we’ll invite current page owners to go to the new style. It will be done by March 11.
- The stream is what’s happening — it’s a central to what we’re doing as a social graph.
- Also today: A New homepage (Yes, VentureBeat’s Eric Eldon called this yesterday.)
- Rolling out March 11.
- Filters allow you to take the stream and slice it. You can also filter by applications.
- New feature: Highlights. It finds the best of the feed, according to what you think is important.
- New feature: Publisher. “What’s on your mind” — (Hello, Twitter once again). A simple entry box to share anything.
Q & A session highlights:
- Today, you can’t open your profile to everyone. The 5,000-friend limit is a problem. Now the “Arrington” feature will allow you to share with more people. But we’re not lifting the 5,000 friend limit.
- Scoble asks how he can move waiting friends over to this new page. To do it, you need to make a new page for yourself.
- The new Feed is more real-time-based then the old feed. It’s basically updating as it’s happening.
- Pages are now much more like profiles. It wasn’t clear if people really wanted 5,000 friends, but they wanted to be able to share info with 5,000 people.
- A very small number of users have the 5,000 friend problem — Zuckerberg says less than a tenth of a percent.
- The new governing documents rolled out last week say all entities should have equal access to the stream, says Zuckerberg.
- “Give people who want a voice, a voice,” whether it’s the New York Times or a single person, that’s our focus, to make it usable for everyone.
- How does this play into business? This will make it so that people spend more time on the site. Being connected with someone has a lot of value (kind of like what’s been said for possible Twitter business models).
- “Connecting with people is a valuable metric,” says Zuckerberg. But that’s more for the future, he says.
- The Spam issue. This is why we’re focusing on filters for the homepage. MG: This feature reminds me more of FriendFeed.
- Others will not know if they’re being filtered out of someone’s feed. Facebook says that won’t matter so much for advertisers because they probably are looking for some action, rather than just someone seeing something.
- New public feeds in search engines? Private information, no. Public, yes, eventually.
- The privacy controls will now help people better share with only those they want to.
- Worried about yet another change to the site? “This isn’t the last time we’re going to change this,” Zuckerberg says. We’re going to keep doing this to adapt and evolve as things change. Some people are not going to be psyched about the changes, Zuckerberg acknowledges, but Facebook will track this.
- They say they’ve been testing this a lot already through case studies, and such. And they’re posting today the schematic of the homepage to let users see the changes.
- Will this help with targeted advertising? Overall, yes — but the big trend is that the world is becoming more open.
- Location-based services? “Those are definitely going to be important things in the future,” Zuckerberg says. Facebook notes they’ve been laying the groundwork for a lot of future changes.
- Importing (my question): Connect is a much bigger part of the strategy than just importing information. Connect lets you share information back to Facebook. Connect is what ties is all together — “at the end of the day we’re just one website,” Zuckerberg says.
- 50 percent or more of the users on the site come back to the site everyday.
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