Saturday, July 26, 2008

F8 Facebook Developer Conference

In the interest of staying up to date on the internet and as a result of my good friend giving me a ticket, I found myself at the F8 Facebook Developer conference last Wednesday. How was it you ask? Since I didn't pay for it, it was ok. If I had, it would have been $125 into Facebook's coffer while allowing them to spend the day inundating me with their own advertising and speaking highly about themselves.

They unveiled some new and upcoming functionality:

1) A new profile
2) A complete layout overhaul, where The Wall will now be the main page, which will center around your news-feeds in order to clean up the mess that is now the main page.
3) The removal of adding apps - now you will have a place where your apps reside - but you won't "add" an app to your profile like you currently do.
4) New developer enhancements and external website integration (friend connect). They claim to have 400,000 developers. I doubt that. Especially because I know probably 20 developers who have never intended to develop anything on Facebook (like me), signed up just to check it out. So multiply that by whatever.
5) I can't remember the rest of the new tabs in your FB page (The Wall, Friends, Applications, and some other things)

It was also interesting to note the differences between how Google releases products and how Facebook does. While Google likes to release in Beta, they generally don't announce much until it's actually released. Most of what Facebook "released" at the conference wasn't close to ready. But they certainly released plenty of details. You can find those at some other websites (Mashable).

The most important difference though is the perception of authenticity. Facebook's keynote, from Zuckerberg, spoke about their new mission statement which went like this: "Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected". Sounds a lot like Google's. But I don't buy it. Overly protective product. Overly protective company. Overly protective employees. The lack of effort to work with others in the industry (Friend Connect, Open Social, etc). It's like they learned how they were being viewed.

What flowed from the announcement of their new mission statement was the feeling that their speakers were trying too hard to comply with it. There were times when the speakers would take questions from the crowd - especially with the technical components - and then say that things like "good idea, we'll implement that next, maybe tonight". And then one of the other speakers would say, "maybe not". It just felt odd. Like either their product wasn't I mentioned... they don't think things through... or they're trying to heard to appease people. Either way. I'm not on board.

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