F8: Live Blogging The Keynote (Timeline + Ticker)
I’m sitting in the large hall in the SF Concourse awaiting the F8 keynote from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, now a wealthier man (on paper) than Google co-founders Brin and Page. We expect a series of announcements around music and movies but there will be a ton of stats about Facebook usage and growth.
If you want to see the live stream you can watch it here.
SNL’s comedian Andy Samberg is now on stage doing his impersonation of Mark Zuckerberg. Funny. He’s doing a stand-up routine lampooning Zuckerberg’s discussion of sharing and engagement. Now he’s making masturbation jokes (“sometimes I share with myself . . . several times a day”).
Now Zuckerberg has joined him on stage and is participating in the routine. Samberg does his Mark Wahlberg impression (“say hi to your mother for me”).
And now for the stats . . .
A milestone: last week there were half a billion people on Facebook in a single day. Zuckerberg: The next era is going to be defined by the apps built on top of all these connections.
Zuckerberg now showing his first profile from 2005; “It’s way basic.” In 2008 Facebook introduced a new, richer profile.
Now Zuckerberg is going to tell us how to tell better stories on Facebook. The first announcement . . . I feel it . . .wait for it. The heart of your Facebook experience reinvented: Timeline.
It has “all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are.” It’s a much more visual representation of photos and posts. They’ve got a mobile-optimized version, which is more impressive.
This is a way to “tell your life story.” Zuckerberg says this will enable you to tell the whole story of your life on a single page; it will compress past events the older they are. It will highlight the “most important” stuff.
You can add old photos and content at appropriate points in time. Users can also filter content. There’s also a map view reflecting locations where you’ve been.
Apps + Timeline
“We learned from experience that people want to use apps to express themselves.” Apps will be integrated into timeline. Zuckerberg now discussing a type of app in timeline: reports that track your activity, a way to express “who you are” on the timeline.
He says that people will discover apps through their friends timeline. Timeline is about personalization and self-expression, says Zuckerberg. He’s now discussing the “cover photo” that sits on top of the timeline.
Each element or piece of content on timeline has in-line privacy controls. Now we’re seeing different timelines, showcasing how varied they can be. The mobile version looks really slick.
Kodak moment as we’re watching a video/TV commercial showcasing timeline. High production values.
Next Version of Open Graph and ‘New Class of Apps’
Zuckerberg is reviewing the history of the “social graph” and then the “open graph.” And now you can “connect to anything you want in any way you want.” We’re seeing new buttons (watch, read, listen, eat, hike) instead of just “Like.”
Instead of just nouns you can connect with verbs (as described above).
Ticker (already announced and on FB) is a lightweight stream of activity that doesn’t show up in the news feed. Activity through the open graph goes into Ticker and not into the news feed. This is a “socially acceptable way to express lightweight activity.”
Zuckerberg predicts this will create “an order of magnitude” more sharing. It will also enable a “new class of apps.”
With this update to open graph: media (music, movies, books, news) now join the open graph apps categories. Also there will be “lifestyle” apps (exercise, food, fashion, travel).
These new apps will help you discover new things with (from) your friends. (I can stop thinking about the data mining and marketing implications.)
Zuckerberg shows adding Spotify to the timeline. More sharing will be enabled with “frictionless experiences.” These new apps will allow “real-time serendipity.” For example, you hover over a song in Ticker and you’ll be able to listen to the song that the friend is listening to in real time.
In addition to discovery of media through Ticker, there will also be identification of patterns in timelines. So you can (or a marketer can) look favorites and most common trends in your behavior.
Music Discovery with Spotify
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is on stage discussing music discovery through Spotify and Facebook. The idea is to enable greater music discovery through friends.
More than a dozen developers have built music apps that will be available.
TV and Movies
Zuckerberg shows the use of Ticker to discover TV shows being watched right now. You can hover over and, like music, watch TV shows (via Hulu) that friends are watching in real time. Netflix also has an app that will enable viewing within Facebook.
Now Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is up on stage. His appearance is overshadowed by the poor decisions the company has made (raising prices, splitting the business into two). He’s joking about the show “breaking bad.” Oh the irony.
Netflix-Facebook integration will be live in all Neflix markets except the US because of privacy rules that Hastings believes will be changed soon.
News and Games
Yahoo and Washington Post are launching social news apps. There’s also a new The Daily app. Zuckerberg says that “more than a dozen developers” have built social news apps.
Social games are “killing it.” You’ll see friends’ games activity in real time in the Ticker. Like other media you’ll be able to open the game and potentially participate (depending on the game).
We’re now seeing exercise and food apps that allow people to track their activities and behavior. But there are lots of partners who’ve built these “lifestyle apps.” A few are shown in the image below.
Brett Taylor Explains How It Works
Brett Taylor is on stage explaining how timeline and the new open graph works for developers. It’s clear that Facebook wants to be an app platform eventually equal to iOS and Android. I assume that these apps will equally work in HTML5 on mobile devices.
He says that it’s very simple to develop open graph apps. And once a user enables an app there’s no continuous “reauthorization” of sharing. Every action or activity (songs you’re listening to for example) will be broadcast to friends through the Ticker. This will be sure to create controversy from a privacy perspective.
Open graph expands the “Like” button functionality to all activity on Facebook.
Taylor explains that many apps will be mobile; there are 350 million mobile users of Facebook. Now he’s talking about app discovery and introduces the concept of “graph rank” for open graph apps. Taylor emphasizes that integration is really simple and that quality apps (most engaging apps) will automatically be discovered by people on Facebook.
Data Visualization: Annual Report for One Person
Facebook product VP Chris Cox is now on stage discussing the notion of creating an “annual report for one person” and the genesis of timeline. Designer Nicholas Felton has helped Facebook embed this idea in the timeline concept.
Timeline is an update of scrapbooking Cox says. “We’re a culture of builders, let’s go make something awesome.”
Zuckerberg is back on stage summarizing what’s been announced. The timeline beta begins today and will roll out over the next few weeks. The apps will roll out more or less simultaneously. Music, Movies and TV open graph apps launch today.
Zuckerberg: “Let’s rethink some industries.”
Postscript: See our formal piece now up, New Facebook Features From F8 Include Timeline, “Liking As A Verb,” & More Engaging Apps.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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