Facebook’s f8 conference points to social, business changes

CNNMoney reports the Facebook’s new features are positioning it to organize the Web. Can it best Google?

Let’s find out. f8 isn’t just a key on your keyboard. It is the naming convention for Facebook’s conference where those new features come to light:

f8 is a Facebook conference where developers and entrepreneurs collaborate on the future of personalized and social technologies.At f8, members of the Facebook team and the developer community will explore a variety of topics including new tools and techniques, business growth strategies and open technologies.

The presentations are available online today.

Why does this matter to the average web user, whether or not they have a Facebook account? In one way, it is business. Big business making big ripples in an Internet ocean. Facebook’s apps are built by developers, creating a career opportunity. This relationship between a site and open development isn’t new… but in this case, it is large mover moving larger.

Today Facebook announced they’ll be using oAuth, which will provide standards for developers, allowing app access without making individuals to share their passwords or extended rights to your social accounts. Facebook is also integrating with Microsoft’s docs.com and Pandora, representing relationships between big business offerings. They’re also creating what they call an Open Graph, which ties social activities on partner sites to people’s Facebook accounts. cnet’s Caroline McCarthy provides this example:

One partner site, the Amazon-owned Internet Movie Database, is using the Open Graph Protocol to mark up pages for each individual movie. Hitting the “like” button on an IMDB movie page will automatically add that movie to the “Favorite Movies” section of a Facebook user’s profile.

Think of what your friends will know about you in this future. Socially speaking, Facebook does build on real identity and people’s friends. Will tighter integration between big solutions (Microsoft’s docs.com) and personal use create a new version of peer-pressured business model?

A recommendations plugin may link people to products in an advertiser’s most delicious dreams, not just in pushing information but discovering it. Bret Taylor, Facebook’s Director of Products (and formerly of Google.com) was quoted as saying 400 million Facebook users share 25 billion things a month, and now thanks to a real-time search people will now be able to search across those shared things.

For discussion: Is this the Internet of your dreams? I’ll hang up and listen.

  • I’ve been told I’m wrong about this by people I respect, but I can’t help it:

    Facebook 2010 = AOL 1991

  • Julia Schrenkler, MPR

    Funny, Michael, I’ve heard a similar phrase meaning the same thing, only in the form of “AOL Version 2.0”

    Expand, contract. Position, change. The Internet is very much a communications and service business landscape where we see the rise, fall, fail, and quiet continuum of sites.

    What is the Internet of our dreams? Do you want One Click to Rule Them All?

  • Well, the internet of my dreams begins with realizing the internet is a place, not a medium.

  • Julia Schrenkler, MPR

    Oh, this might get juicy. I’d really like to read what you think about this.

    I’ve read arguments that it is space, but can’t it be both a medium and a destination?

  • BJ

    People use what is familiar. I have had yahoo.com as my home page for well over 10 years. People are starting to have facebook as home page, question is will they keep’m.

    AOL was a service that got supplanted by the internet (is supplanted the right word?), they continued (till this day even) after and are still generating 3.26 Billion or so in income. So to be AOL 2.0 is not a bad thing.

  • kennedy

    The internet is no more a “place” than cable television. It is a tool (medium) that is used to communicate information. It is certainly more interactive than cable television, but nonetheless simply a medium.

    The conversation we are having now is basically the same as the editorial section of a newspaper, only at a more rapid pace.

    The internet of my dreams is free from financial and marketing influences allowing me unbiased, unfiltered access. People are (rightfully) out to make a buck so this will remain a dream.

  • Julia Schrenkler, MPR

    MPRNewsQ is your homepage now, right BJ? I kid! I kid! You make a very good point about AOL’s moves but are your income numbers on? I know they’re on a slide, losing percentage points every quarter. FWIW I think Facebook is looking at breaking 1 billion this year… got to find a deep source on that.

    kennedy, this is interesting:

    The conversation we are having now is basically the same as the editorial section of a newspaper, only at a more rapid pace.

    There’s also a building, development aspect that can’t go without mention IMO. The Internet of your dreams has no marketing or financial influences… is there a model of that you’d cite that is currently in use?

  • By realizing that the internet is a place, I’m referring to how it’s seen legally. Doc Searls articulated this in 2005.

    As he tweeted this morning from FiberFete in Lafayette, LA, “If we see the Net as a medium rather than as a place, we risk losing it.” Why Lafayette, LA? Because of Lafayette’s deployment of a community-owned fiber network providing fiber connectivity *everywhere* in the city.

  • BJ

    at yahoo.com searched for “AOL income statement” was directed to http://www.dailyfinance.com/financials/aol-inc-aol-inc-common-stock/aol/nys/income-statement

    yes AOL is losing income – but my point was 3.26 Billion in income!

    Their are VERY few companies with that kind of income, MN has about 39 with over 1 Billion in income. http://ww3.startribune.com/projects/st100/

    There are only about 1200 companies in the world over 1 Billion in sales. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/18/global-09_The-Global-2000_Sales_19.html

  • I don’t know why this is relevant, but here’s AOL’s latest 10-K dated 3/2/10.

    While AOL had 2009 *revenue* of ~US$3.2 billion, it’s *net income* was less than US$250 million.

  • JackU

    I go back along way (my first CompuServe account was opened in 1984) so please bear with me if my view is a little archaic. 😉

    As a fan of Doc Searls, I tend to agree with him. Mostly because it’s always been “a place” in my mind. In addition to CompuServe, American PeopleLink, Viewtron, Prodigy and AOL (I’m sure I missed a few), I also used to connect to private local bulletin boards to communicate with other people, often with a shared interest in something. These were not “mediums” in the way that TV (or radio) are/were. It was a place to get together and share stories, ideas, questions and answers. While the wires, modems, network cards, etc might in and of themselves not be a “place”, neither are the wood, nails and paint that make up a local diner or pub. But the combination of those components and the way they allow people to interact make the diner or pub a place. I would contend that the same is true for the Internet. (And those great and not so great online services I listed.) The Internet itself is not the place, MPRNewsQ, Facebook or whatever your favorite on-line hang out is becomes the place. The fact that we see the same names in the comments here on NewsCut allows us to “get to know” people in a very limited, some might contend superficial, way the people who we interact with this way. Over time we come to expect certain people to comment on certain stories and when those comments don’t appear we wonder why.

    I also think that you can’t discount the rapid pace of exchange. The two most common mechanisms for long distance communication, that is with someone who is not in the same room as you, prior to email were the telephone and the written letter. E-mail is neither as formal as a written letter nor as direct as phone call. It falls somewhere in between. So to does this exchange. It is not like the editorial section of the paper because the fact that we have to work less at posting a comment here means we tend to be less formal about how we approach our statements. In fact I would bet that as soon as people were able to email letters to the editor the tone of the letters changed, not necessarily for the worse mind you, just changed.

  • kennedy

    I can see the argument that a specific web address is a “place” of sorts. It provides specific content and/or connections to people or groups.

    On the flip side, is a frequency on the radio dial a “place”? Is the telephone chat room advertised on late night TV a “place”?

    Julia, there is no model for the “dream” of a truly free internet. The fact that it doesn’t exist (and most likely never will) doesn’t prohibit it from being a dream.