Facebook Beacon: Kara is the Pot Calling the Kettle

In the 60 minutes interveiw of Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg (which I thought was a puff piece) Kara Swisher is highlighted as the expert in Facebook.  Kara deserves to be on there because she has been following Facebook hard for a while.  I like Kara and read her blog.  Kara is a pro journalist, but I fell off my chair at the end of the interview on her comment on Facebook’s beacon product.  I have to call foul on this one Kara. 

Kara: I respectfully disagree with you.  First, I think that you’re wrong on your take on beacon.  You said Facebook was wrong for doing it and not explaining it.  Then you go on to basically question their judgement.  I disagree with you.  Beacon is a good thing for Facebook and for users.  I think that Facebook rolled it out the wrong way, but it was a good move for Facebook.  It’s a competitive advantage weapon for Facebook and a possible innovation lever for their user experience (and for future monetization).   Secondly, you have a relationship Google and know that Google practices the same techniques as Beacon (can we talk about gmail, data centers and toolbar among other similar data driven innovations).  By your logic Google is wrong and has bad judgement.   Competing on the value of data extraction is precisely what Google built their brand on and it is what drives their ad monetization business. 

Both Google and Facebook derive their products core value propositions from the aggregation and knowledge about data and data relationships. 

Here is the 60 minutes interview. Note: Bill Gates was 17 when he started Microsoft.

Two Parts: 

Part I

Part II

Data as a Service (DAS) – Facebook Business Opportunities – It’s about the ‘data effects’

One theme coming out of the conference here is the value in the platform – the data and the ‘data effects’.  More importantly the Internet Operating System (IOS).  Tim O’Reilly pointed this out today at the Social Graph Conference.  Here is a great post from Stu Phillips about Data as a service – eg facebook and other social networks.  Stu ironically was the key player behind Cisco’s IOS.  As we all know Cisco had one of the most sustainable and nested advantages in their routers.  I think Stu has a great perspective in looking at the role of the Internet as an operating system.  Add higher level stack abstractions and you have Cisco’s IOS + Web 1.0 + Web 2.0 = Modern Web. 

If you’re an entrepreneur who is interested in building a business as part of the Internet Operating System you need to meet with Stu who is helping fund and advise startups.

Stu points out the following:  “Facebook could find some interesting ways of monetizing that database – not only does it have a detailed set of relationship data, it also has a rich transaction stream – every time you add a friend, change your profile, interact with an application… Facebook generates a transaction. Mining both the database and the log of transactions could provide very valuable data. “

Stu is highlighting an article from Fred VogelStein at Wired.  Fred penned an article about Facebook for the La Times.

Here is a link to my data on Facebook. 

Official Definition of Facebooks Social Graph – Dave Morin from Facebook – Graphing Social Patterns – Day 2

Dave Morin works on the Facebook platform team to bring out the platform – developers.facebook.com.  He is talking about Facebook, the Social Graph, and the Facebook Platform. 

Facebook is a technology company and a social utility.   Facebook is growing at 225k users per day and doubling every six months.  The new users are coming from people over the age of 25.  Mostly users outside the US (uk and canada dominate the international distribution).  Over 50% of users return each day.   60 billion pages every day.

The official definition:  Social Graph is the network of connections that exist through which people communicate and share information.  Applications like photos and events are examples that leverage the social graph.  Dave highlights that the Events App (written by Mark Zuckerberg in 8 hours one night) on Facebook is dwarfing evite because of the social graph and the network effects. 

Facebook will be open for developers and users.  I wonder what this means.???  Facebook is a young company and I think that they will do the right thing in making it ‘really open’.  As Tim O’Reilly says whoever makes the developer money will win the platform war.  Right now Tim says that Facebook is a subsystem of the Internet platform.  If they make the right moves on the developer front they can win the platform war.

New features will harness the fact that Facebook is moving toward a metric of engagement.   New opportunities?  Three things important to Facebook:  managing the growth, get to engagement apps and metrics, and monetization on these new social patterns.

Dave says that Facebook has 90,000 developers and growing.  Facebook is excited and humbled by the outpouring of support from developers.  Another interesting stat – 80% of users have adopted at least one application. 

Live Blogging from Graphing Social Patterns

Sitting in the row of press next to Nick (allfacebook.com) and Brian SolisDave McClure is putting on a great event with top silicon valley press and developers.  The “Don” of blogging – Dan Farber is blogging and leading the charge on techmeme.  Tom Foremski has some earlier posts. 

What is the social graph?  Everyone wants to know.  It’s really not fully defined but in general I think that it’s a movement that will have legs.  Why?  Because we are all connected and fully networked.  I expect to see some interesting new approaches to content, collaboration, and advertising – maybe we should call it the social semantic web.   Some think that Social Graph is based in hype.

Right now Danny Sullivan, the authority on search,  is taking about search engines and how it relates to the social revolution that we know of as social networks and media.  

web 1.0  search success:  “off the page” metrics – clickthrus, anchor text, actual text, and link relationships.   Problem: spamming and manipulation of text and links.

Evolution:  vertial search and personalized and social search.   Changes will be gradual and won’t be noticed by most users.  How does this happen?  Data used by Google.  Yes Google is monitoring your web history.  Tagging.  Will this be enough?  Search will be going through major transformation in the next few years. 

What about Facebook?  Social graph and social network data…watching what others are doing… reshape results and actions based upon what friends are doing.   To me is facebook about watching what people are doing rather than something of value?  Is there a collaboration app waiting to be born … uhmm..

Is facebook for real Danny asks..he points the crowd to this picture…


New trend in facebook ..Friend pollution – “true friends”?  are your friends effecting the search engines?  He says that facebook doesn’t have a facebook friendly search technology.  I agree with Danny.  I think that Facebook search is terrible. 

Question from crowd:  what does he think of Mahalo?  Danny doesn’t see Mahalo as social search because it is done by editors not a community.  Hmm I think that Jason is doing both not just editors.  Jason Calacannis is this true? 

Search is an on demand activity based upon what a user knows what they want.  Different from discovery..getting something that you would like that you don’t know you want… Digg, aggregated news, content that is aggregated knowledge of what your friends watch.

I tried to ask a question but they ran out of time.  So I’ll ask it here…

Danny:  web 1.0 search was based upon open data (crawling pages) and multiple companies were created to address search (altavista, excite, yahoo, etc).. Will Facebook be monolithic search or will it open up its data?  If so what is the best way for facebook to enable entrepreneurs to create new search applications?

Update: Danny answered via the comments..Thanks Danny

Danny Sullivan’s response:  “I suspect Facebook will not open up its social data, so the best way to enable entrepreneurs will probably remain though application development — that you could develop an app to call on Google, Yahoo, Microsoft or Ask search results and somehow store activity on them by those sharing through some type of search app.”