#facebook

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.

Justine Sharrock for BuzzFeed on Matt Jones (best known for his work with Pixar) working with Facebook on a new class of emoticons:


  Right now, Jones is experimenting with colors beyond the default yellow used in most other emoticons. He tried “Facebook blue,” thinking it might have become familiar enough to users, but said the emoticons just looked like they had hypothermia. He’s experimenting with multiple colors: red for anger, green for envy. “But you don’t want to offend anyone,” he explains. “Colors will be a racial issue.”


I was never a big emoticon user until about a year ago when I enabled them on my iPhone. Now I’m addicted. You can convey so much without typing.

(I also love that BuzzFeed has adopted the to-the-top button found on Tumblr.)

Justine Sharrock for BuzzFeed on Matt Jones (best known for his work with Pixar) working with Facebook on a new class of emoticons:

Right now, Jones is experimenting with colors beyond the default yellow used in most other emoticons. He tried “Facebook blue,” thinking it might have become familiar enough to users, but said the emoticons just looked like they had hypothermia. He’s experimenting with multiple colors: red for anger, green for envy. “But you don’t want to offend anyone,” he explains. “Colors will be a racial issue.”

I was never a big emoticon user until about a year ago when I enabled them on my iPhone. Now I’m addicted. You can convey so much without typing.

(I also love that BuzzFeed has adopted the to-the-top button found on Tumblr.)

lilly

lilly:

Look at that. Mobile hugely up, and personal computer usage for Facebook is actually down.

Take heed, and ignore this trend at your peril. Mobile isn’t the future anymore. It’s the present.

Right.

And I’ll just add that while there’s recently been quite a bit of talk about going back to “web first”, Facebook’s numbers are especially important here. Yes, a lot of early adopters are still heavy traditional web (meaning desktop/laptop-based) users. But Facebook is at full mainstream scale with a billion-plus users and the trend is clear. If you’re thinking big and for the future, you have to think mobile.

Josh Constine of TechCrunch on Facebook shutting off “Find Friends” access to an increasing number of apps/services:

After shutting down data access to several competing apps, Facebook today made two major clarifications to its Platform Policy, banning apps that use its data but make it easy for users to share back to Facebook, or that replicate its core functionality without permission. Facebook Platform Head Justin Osofsky tried to calm fears by noting the majority of developers should “keep doing what you’re doing”.

Essentially, Facebook is saying that there will be “no more free lunch” for these third-party apps. Either share back to Facebook in a major way — content which Facebook can then advertise against — or get lost. Obviously, it’s a pretty shitty stance to take, but it shouldn’t be surprising — Facebook needs to make money.

I’m more surprised to see Facebook screw “competing” apps, because, let’s be honest, at the billion-user scale, no one is really competing with Facebook. At best, this makes them look like bullies. At worst, it makes them look weak and afraid.

I also love the name of the new section in Facebook’s Platform Policy: “Reciprocity”. I can’t help but be reminded of the key operation in Tom Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger. My favorite back-and-forth from the film of the same name:

John Clark: “Reciprocity.” That’s a clever name for it. Revenge is a very, very, very dangerous motivation.

Robert Ritter: Are you able to handle this operation or not? What I’m looking for here is a simple yes or no.

John Clark: What you’re looking for is a political mess.

Robert Ritter: Yes or no?

John Clark: Is that what they want? Because that’s what this is.

Robert Ritter: They want what every first-term administration wants - a second term.