The Web 2.0 Summit kicked off with an interview with Mark Zuckerberg defining the term "social graph."
"We don't have a social graph. It's just a thing we model and map out," he said. The reason Facebook doesn't have a social graph, he explained, becasue it's simply mapping connections people have in the real world and exposing those connections, with the permission of users, to application developers. He added that the mapping out social connections can help decrease the cost of communications and help people learn more about their world
"We will be working on this for years...for 30 or 10 years before it is a mature platform, to map out all the edges on the social graph," Zuckerberg said. So, maybe there is a social graph. He expects the company to grow from 300 to 700 employees in the next year.
Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook needed a "grownup" to run the company. The 23-year-old CEO said,"We have thought about developing a good team rather than hiring a CEO with experience in this space, and I'm not convinced that exists. Instead we are focused on building a strong team."
Battelle asked Zuckerberg about Facebook's tough talking terms of service for developers It's really clear the product is evolving very quickly. A year ago we didn't even have the newsfeed and its such an integral part of the site. We needed to make sure we have enough flexibility in the platform so we could build the next thing," Zuckerberg said.
Battelle asked about Facebook colonizing the platform, in terms of areas developers should stay away from because Facebook could easily own it. Zuckerberg said, "Ads," and in three month he would have more to say about the subject. "We reserve the right to build anything and compete with any of the developers, but do it on fair ground," he said regarding how Facebook views competing its developer community.
Zuckerberg was asked about the kinds of Facebook applications. "It's still fairly early. Some of initial stuff is great. Just looking at what we have built--photos, videos, and what others have build. Facebook has 6,000 applications and 100,000 developers, he said. He noted some applications in health.
In reference to MySpace and its media focus, Zuckerberg said, "We are not a media company." He explained that Facebook is focused on solving deeply technical problems, such as developing the newsfeed, which looks at data and determines what is of interest to users.
How is the deal with Microsoft going, Battelle asked. "Pretty good I think," Zuckerberg said.
Marc Canter asked Zuckerberg about allowing users to export their Facebook data. "It's a flaw in the system right now," Zuckerberg said. He didn't offer any time frame for fixing the "flaw." He also said that Facebook's privacy controls give people lots of granularity for information sharing. "It's why the [Facebook] system works, and why more information is shared on the Web than ever before."