I attended the Facebook Developer Garage in Palo Alto, CA tonight. There were 620 confirmed guests for this event posted on Facebook, who picked up the tab for a drink and some appetizers. Here are the highlights from the event.
Voice: Changing from 3rd-Person to 1st-Person
When something is posted to the news feed on Facebook, it currently reads like a 3rd-person report: “Brian was tagged in a photo”, or “Brian said he liked The Beatles.”
Facebook is making a subtle shift that will have a big impact – the move from 3rd person to 1st-person. For example, “Brian I love the White Album by the Beatles.”
News feeds going forward will start to read more like Twitter messages, with the authority of the actor. When friends read the news feed, they will be reading messages from their friends, not from the Facebook narrator.
Media – More of it, easily embedded
Media is clearly going to play a bigger role on Facebook. To date there are 700 million photos on Facebook and video uploads have been accelerating. In addition, Facebook will allow users and applications to upload audio and Flash games.
Each of these rich media formats will be easily and automatically embedded in the Facebook social news feed. This is the beginning of a significantly more interactive web experience, one which users will come to demand from all sites.
Verification – Is your application up to Facebook’s standard?
Another message that was reiterated by the presenters tonight was that Facebook is really focusing on verification.
There are two ways that 3rd party sites can integrate with Facebook. Developers can build applications that embed into the Facebook experience, or developers can use Facebook Connect to let visitors to their own site login with their Facebook credentials.
When Facebook Platform was first launched, it was a new Wild Wild West where early applications could use spam techniques to amass a large following. Facebook has officially declared an end to this practice with the launch of the Application Verification Program which will determine the applications that are good for users and those that are suspicious. Unverified apps will likely have the steepest of hills to climb to get traction with users.
So the question is: are you friends with Facebook enough to get your app verified?