This year’s F8, Facebook Developer Conference, began with a bang as Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision of the future, as well as reflections of the past ten years. Until now, the company has been focused on big product announcements, but that’s shifted, and today’s Facebook is focused on building a stable mobile platform.
“It’s tough to build for mobile since it so siloed,” Zuckerberg mentioned, due to the fact that developers have to develop for iOS, Android and Windows. Facebook wants to build a cross-platform platform so apps can launch once, instead of in specific iterations for each mobile platform.
Zuckerberg announced the need for us to remain anonymous when using some apps and websites, and for that reason, Facebook is rolling out “Anonymous Login“, which will allow you to login with Facebook to try out an app without fear. Further, it will allow you to return later with your real information intact, if you like. This is similar to say, Google Chrome Incognito.
Zuckerberg explained how the Parse mobile platform, which it sees as the agnostic bridge between iOS, Android and Windows. The company proudly shares that over 140,000 developers have adopted the Parse platform to date. As Parse CEO, Ilya Sukhar revealed, the platform aims to offer developers a robust, native analytics so they don’t need “App Annie”, Flurry, or other third-party solutions.
Internal mobile app ecosystem–someone has to try
My favorite announcement at the event was App Links, designed to deep link from app to app, and easily go to areas of other apps, with a single click
You know the pain that comes from clicking on an Instagram link on Twitter? Which app do you want to use to open this? Instagram isn’t even an option. App Links hopes to solve scenarios like these, where today’s web-URLs don’t always translate on mobile. Using App Links, developers can put meta tags in their web pages that direct to specific applications on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Sliding from Quip, to Spotify, to Soundcloud seamlessly would be like heaven.
Go ahead and ‘mobile like’ me
Ime Archibong of Facebook Strategic Partnerships introduced the company’s new “Mobile Like Button“, offering an easy way to like content within apps. Pretty smooth. The new, “send to mobile” feature allows users to send downloadable apps from your desktop to your mobile phone.
And Facebook’s being a bit philanthropic in the developer ecosystem. If you are just starting an app, you can use FB Start, and earn $5,000 in free developer services. If you’re trying to accelerate growth, they’ll give you up to $30,000 in free services. That’s lots of free.
Facebook Audience Network
What’s also amazing is Facebook’s new “Audience Network,” that Liu says, makes the platform simple, and doesn’t require app marketers to hire a sales team. The new network brings together audience targeting, analytics, and tracking, so Facebook will do it all for you.
I’d recommend keeping a keen eye on the analytics and cross referencing them with your Google or KISSMetrics analytics. In my experience the numbers don’t always add up. Always verify. As Liu explained, “It’s the best experience for advertisers and marketers because they’re getting the ROI they are looking for, while the developers will have an easier time getting these ads into their system.”
A wiser, more innovative and mature Facebook
Zuckerberg concluded the F8 Conference saying this year’s F8 isn’t about new shiny products, because it is all about the developer and listening to the developers and deepening how Facebook supports it’s ecosystem of developers. He then shared that F8 will happen more frequently, beginning next year on March 25, 2015 at Fort Mason, San Francisco.
Mark is turning 30 in a couple of weeks, Facebook is 10 and it’s the 10 year anniversary of meeting his wife. The dude has done more in 30 years than I’ve done in 40 … damn him.
Older, wiser Facebook is definitely shifting gears away from user growth, and more towards innovating on the new Facebook mobile platform.