I can’t wait for f8 on September 22, 2011. Here at Engauge, we will be streaming the conference all day on the big screen and will be watching the keynote together at 1pm EST. f8 is an annual conference held by Facebook “for developers, entrepreneurs and innovators building a more social web.” But, it’s really not just for developers. Sample topics that would be fascinating to social marketers include:
- New Products: product announcements to enable a new class of social apps
- Building Social Apps: Engineers and entrepreneurs share their best practices and strategies for building great social apps
In the past, Facebook has saved huge announcements to share at f8, and it’s where they first announced open and social graph in 2007 (see my blog post from earlier this year on the announcement). “Several major product were launched at Facebook’s last f8 in April 2010, including the Like button, , social plugins, the Graph API, and Instant Personalization” (via http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/08/25/f8-201/).
Big topics that may be covered at the f8 conference include:
Facebook’s Music Service
Some contest that music is the “most social of activities.” As Facebook looks to remain the homepage of its users, the integration of music services as a call-out on the News Feed harnesses the periphery traffic that users may use to take advantage of free or streaming services. Speculation around Facebook’s announcement centers around enabling users to access their music hosted on a third party site (e.g. Spotify, Pandora, Grooveshark, etc.) and listen to their music from the homepage of Facebook. As Pandora already connected with Facebook to provide a more social listening experience in the “Instant Personalization” rollout at f8 2010, this is a likely building block.
Mobile-optimized Facebook experience via browser, not app (aka Project Spartan)
Facebook has had a difficult time of releasing optimized mobile experiences for the iPhone and iPad because Apple continues to gate their passage of apps into the app store. Instead, Facebook has conspired a sneaky workaround. Instead of creating a mobile experience within an app that must be downloaded to a mobile phone, the mobile experience will reside within Safari, the default browser for iPhones. That means that any releases or updates can be instantaneously applied and are not gated to be released via the app store. This is the “one area of the device that Facebook will be able to control (or mostly control)” (http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/15/facebook-project-spartan/).
It’s interesting to note that the experience will priarmily be rleased through Safari. before it is adapted for Android, not the other way around. “Facebook will never admit this, but those familiar with the project believe the intention is very clear: to use Apple’s own devices against them to break the stranglehold they have on mobile app distribution. With nearly 700 million users, Facebook is certainly in the position to challenge the almighty App Store distribution mechanism. But they need to be able to do so on Apple’s devices which make up a key chunk of the market.”
The Safari-optimized experience also allows applications within Facebook to be optimized for mobile (by instead running them through a mobile browser). f8 will likely highlight the functionality as well as showcase examples of apps developed by third parties, such as Zynga and the Huffington Post (http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/08/25/f8-201/).
Finally, the native web design “ will permit Facebook to expand its Facebook Credits virtual currency to mobile” –Inside Facebook.
The technical specifics on the mobile experience include that it is entirely HTML5-based. And could even include a HTML5 mobile gaming platform, which Google originally released through Chrome with samples such as Angry Birds.
An official Facebook for iPad app
MG Siegler of TechCrunch uncovered a hidden iPad app (http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/25/facebooks-hidden-ipad-app/) earlier this summer, which will likely be officially unveiled at the conference.
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