#facebook

Allison Fass reporting on Peter Thiel’s talk at SXSW this year where he recounted the time in 2006 that Mark Zuckerberg turned down Yahoo’s $1 billion offer to buy Facebook:

His only partial rationalization at the time was that in the history of Yahoo, it had made two $1 billion offers that were also turned down. And those were to eBay and Google. “At least I could actually make a pseudo-scientific argument that in every case Yahoo offered $1 billion and it was rejected, it was the correct thing to do,” said Thiel.

I should say that I know absolutely nothing about any sort of talks/deals between Tumblr and Yahoo. And I’m not sharing this to suggest that Tumblr should turn down such a supposed offer (my initial gut feeling is actually that such a partnership would make a lot of sense). I just found it fascinating given how closely the reported number is to the key number repeated in Thiel’s story.

Shaunacy Ferro on the making of Facebook’s stickers:

Yet Keltner thought that by incorporating some of the principles from Darwin’s seminal work on emotion, he could add a touch of the richness he felt existing emoticons lacked. “I’m naïve about emoticons because I’ve never sent one in my life, but I’ve looked at them—it’s just missing a lot of important things in our emotional lives,” Keltner says.

Sympathy, for example, can be hard to really get across in traditional emoticon form. “It’s an under-appreciated emotion in Western culture,” Keltner explains. “We now know what it looks like and sounds like because of science. They created this dynamic emoticon that when you see it, it’s really powerful.”

When I first heard about virtual stickers being a thing, I, like everyone else, scoffed. Now I’m utterly addicted. And I have no idea why. 

I’m of coursed biased in saying Path’s are the best. But I do find the science behind Facebook’s interesting.

Caroline Winter for Bloomberg Businessweek:

Content, available in English, will initially be free. When readers log on to the site for the first time, they’ll receive a certain number of points—Chang calls them “karma points”—which will slowly be depleted as they click through articles. To restock on points and maintain access, they will have to share the site’s stories through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s a bit like multilevel marketing—the more readers spread articles, the greater their access. Those who bristle at being asked to share content can buy points; five points will cost 99¢. “I’m sort of riding off of a gaming model where, instead of pay to play, you can share to play,” Chang says.

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer a world where people share articles because they think they’d be useful for others to read, not because they want to get points. 

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan for Fast Company’s Co.Design:

Gehry and Zuckerberg, in a way, are trying to engineer their own Low Road building that’s still a pleasant place to work, thanks to the expansive roof garden. Assuming that’s actually the thinking behind Facebook West, it’s refreshing to see an architect, known for championing form, focusing on function. It’ll be exciting to see how the building progreses—construction is expected to start immediately.

Like.

If Microsoft Were The Inventors Of Facebook Home, They’d Have Invented Facebook Home

Here we go again.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s head of communications, took to the company blog today to “congratulate” Facebook on the launch of Facebook Home. Except that he’s not really congratulating Facebook, he’s passive-aggressively signaling the old “WE DID THIS FIRST!!!” whiny bullshit that Microsoft loves to pull from time to time.

Microsoft, by way of Shaw, seems annoyed that Facebook is getting all this buzz for something they believe they did in 2011 with Windows Phone.  They’re pissed off that such a fact which seems so obvious to them wasn’t brought up enough yesterday, so they’re bringing it up themselves. 

Not mentioned is that it wasn’t brought up because Windows Phone, while a good product in many regards, is a complete after-thought in the smartphone market. You can yell “FIRST!!!” as loudly as you want to try to change that, but that never works. 

Said another way: If you guys were the inventors of Facebook Home, you’d have invented Facebook Home.

What’s deliciously awkward here is that Microsoft is actually an investor in Facebook, and a close partner. It must be especially maddening that Facebook would choose to utilize (or “spoon”) a product by their chief rival — hence Shaw’s comments about Android in his post. 

I’ll just repeat what I said a year ago on a similar matter:

If you have to tell people you won, you lost.

An extensive look at the future of Facebook’s business by Kurt Eichenwald for Vanity Fair. As he notes:

Then came the miracle of television. And once again, advertisers were flummoxed. Photographs and drawings on signs and in newspapers—sure. Ad copy read over the radio airwaves—got it. But television, with moving pictures—what were they supposed to do with that?

The thought that advertising won’t work online in a variety of ways is and has always been a joke. It needs to be different depending on the format (mobile vs. desktop web, etc). But with so many eyeballs, it will be bigger than all of the other mediums. Probably combined. Soon.

Ron Amadeo of Android Police scored what appears to be a very legit APK of HTC’s incoming “Facebook Phone”. Everything seems to be pretty much as expected. A couple interesting notes:

  • You’ll apparently be able to install this launcher on a number of Android devices. The HTC device should just be the pre-installed, flagship “Facebook Phone” for now. And the specs are meh.
  • There are graphics in the APK for a Google button of some sort, which points to Google Search functionality being built-in to this launcher. Again, that was basically expected since whispers have Google being okay with all of this. But it’s still a little weird given Microsoft’s stake in Facebook.

One thing I’m not sure Amadeo caught:

"Chat Heads" is a new feature included in both Orca (Facebook Messenger) and Wakizashi. Other than the new name, I’m not sure what exactly is different from the normal Messenger.

"Orca" is no doubt a codename for Messenger, as you’ll recall it arose from Facebook’s 2011 purchase of the messaging startup Beluga. Get it?

Nice scoop by Josh Constine of TechCrunch:

Facebook just invited press to an event at its headquarters on April 4th to “Come See Our New Home On Android”. Sources tell us it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality on the homescreen that may live on an HTC handset. The evidence aligns to say this is the Facebook Phone announcement people have been speculating about for years.

Others have since backed this up as well.

I was a few months off, but this is basically what I had heard back in January as well.

There seems to be some disagreement over whether or not this would constitute a “fork” of Android. It would seem there is a way for Facebook to do this with Google’s blessing (just as they bless TouchWiz and other “skins”). But make no mistake, this is not stock Android. Facebook will deeply inject their own apps into the core of the OS. As long as they don’t replace Search, Maps, and a few others, Google should be okay with it — for now.

One wildcard is the Play Store. Facebook has their own App Center (which right now links to Play Store and the App Store), which they presumably could make work as a stand-alone Android app store as well. But it’s hard to see how that wouldn’t piss off Google. See: Amazon.

Another question: what will the carriers think of this? Presumably, they’ll have at least one on board with the HTC phone. Facebook has been making a lot of noise about “free calls” within their Messenger apps — this could all but destroy the notion of cellular “minutes”. 

Of course, that writing has been on the wall for some time. Data phones are the way going forward. Still, the carriers must be a little scared of the post-minutes, post-SMS world that this Facebook Phone highlights. It’s a huge change. The carriers are finally becoming the dumb pipes they were meant to be.