I've just finished watching live stream of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's keynote speech at this year's developer conference. Here are a few of the major takeaways, some of which will warrant further analysis at a later date (it's 11pm here in London).
- International growth has been key. Facebook currently has approx. 90 million users, up from 24 million last year -- of which 2/3rd are outside North America.
- Translation tool will be opened up to developers. English speaking countries still make up the majority. Facebook has been translating the site at a rapid pace due to crowd-sourcing the work via the site's translation database tool. First Spanish and French, and now over 60 languages. Application developers will be able to start using Facebook's translation tool to make their apps available in multiple languages.
- Most social applications will be rewarded. Facebook wants to reward apps that provide the most value, and punish ones that are spammy or viral for viral's sake. The definition of a good app is one that offers new ways of sharing new kinds of information -- as a result these will frequently show up in the news feed (and publishing tool) and therefore be rewarded through exposure that way.
- Decentralizing the social web with Facebook Connect. Social applications that utilize the 'social graph' should be able to run elsewhere on the web and not just within Facebook. Enter Facebook Connect. Outside applications can utilize Facebook for authentication (log-in, similar to OpenID), access to people's friends lists, as well as publish shared content back to Facebook via the news stream (as third-party apps currently can within Facebook). A Demo was given by Digg. Any Facebook user can join the "Digg army" without joining the social news site. Stories submitted and voted on will show up in a user's Facebook feed. Another demo came from SixApart who showed off a plug-in for the blogging platform Moveable Type. In this example, blog commenting is made easier by using Facebook for authentication and to see who else in your 'social graph' has commented. Once again, content, in this case comments, created elsewhere on the web can now show up in your Facebook news feed. In this respect, Facebook Connect works like the controversial Beacon ad platform -- and on that note, Zuckerberg was keen to stress the amount of control users are given over privacy on Facebook Connect. Nobody's Christmas will be ruined this time round, he says.
See also: A few thoughts on Facebook’s redesign