Facebook f8 conference keynote; Timeline, Ticker, OpenGraph, Music [Video]

 

In an interesting keynote setup at Facebook HQ this morning, comedian Andy Samberg opened up the f8 event by posing as Mark Zuckerberg and bragging about Facebook for a while, satirizing the typical keynote delivery by introducing features like the “I’m not really Friends with these People” group, the “Slow-Poke", and breaking out into random song. Eventually, the real Mark Zuckerberg interrupted and some more hilarity ensued. After Andy left the stage, Zuckerberg launched into the real keynote.

The first issue at hand was Profiles. Profiles, according to Zuckerberg, are "the heart of your Facebook experience." A brief history of the Facebook profile was given, leading up to the first feature announcement: Timeline. Timeline is a customizable timeline that displays the most important stories and events in your news feeds and apps. It takes the form of a tablet news feed interface, using dynamic tiles to track your entire Facebook experience from beginning to end. 

The farther you go back in time, the more Facebook summarizes events into a smaller space. Recent events will have more weight than older events, so a nice flow is retained. Timeline is interactive and every item can be drilled into to see more detail and more shared items. If you want to add something to an old section, you can do that as well. Timeline can be viewed in a map, using location to map your travels through time. This applied to apps as well. Apps will be used to display timeline events, and you can share app events as Timeline stories. It isn't clear if Timelines are meant to replace Profiles or just augment them, but it's clear that Zuckerberg wants us to be using these to convey basic information, just like your Profile page.

All of this will work on mobile devices as well. No specific platforms ere mentioned, so it's safe to assume every platform is supported (ideally).

A video was shown to demo all of this that didn't rip any ideas from Google product marketing videos at all

The next announcement was a new version of OpenGraph and a new class of applications. No longer are Facebook members limited to liking things. Now you can [Insert Verb Here] things. Ticker, the next feature, displays friends' activities. It won't get added to News Feed unless Facebook determines that the activity is important. This is Zuckerberg calls "Lightweight activity." The next version of OpenGraph is all about publishing these lightweight activities in a way that's meaningful and not overbearing. Lightweight activities won't create annoying popups and permissions that impede the user experience, using a redesigned permissions dialog and process. Facebook will keep better track of your permission settings, decreasing the amount of interruptions you get from app sharing actions.

The new OpenGraph will be able to detect anomalies and patterns in your activities to better determine what is considered lightweight and what is considered news feed worthy.

This brought Zuckerberg to the concept of Media Sharing applications, and specifically Music. using OpenGraph, you are able to publish that you listened to a song, and using Spotify (or other subscription services), you'll be able to listen seamlessly to whatever your friends are listening to. If your friend listens to your music, you get a notification back. This creates a very dynamic music sharing experience. Spotify CEO Daniel Eck was brought onstage to discuss the particulars of this sharing model, and the app that they have designed to use OpenGraph in your Spotify social experience.

Spotify isn't the only company developing music apps, and it will be interesting to see what everyone else can add to the music sharing space. Hulu is also building an app around the same idea for watching TV shows and videos. Netflix also has an OpenGraph app incoming, and CEO Reed Hastings got on stage to discuss. He was excited about Netflix integration, but reminded us that the capability in the US is still blocked by privacy regulation, and that a bill is currently in Congress to reform that regulation.

News media are getting on the OpenGraph bandwagon as well, letting you follow news topics through friends' activities. News Corp, Washington Post, and Yahoo! news all have apps to enable this, as well as many others.

Games are also getting the OpenGraph treatment, and since every action you take in a game is considered a lightweight activity, it shows up on your ticker. 

The last group of apps discussed was what Zuckerberg called Lifestyle apps. They apply the same OpenGraph reporting tools to collect and use data in various lifestyle activities and present you with an experience to help you leverage all that information. 

A video was shown that displayed all this OpenGraph possibility and potential, presenting an exciting view of what Facebook plans to do with lifestyle and media sharing. 

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