News from the folks over in Palo Alto had the interwebs in a buzz yesterday! Facebook held a live press conference over the web yesterday at 10 AM PST. Mark Zuckerberg started the announcement with a background on trends they are seeing, and what they predict will happen over the next few years.
Zuckerberg spoke about how at first it was more about the numbers, and increasing the amount of users on Facebook. He mentioned that they hit 750 million users, but they didn’t make a big deal out of it. Basically he said that connecting people is the old mentality. Most everyone is already connected. Now that the infrastructure is in place, and the connections are mostly built the next phase is sharing. He said that people are sharing things at an exponential rate. We are sharing twice as much this year as we did last year, and twice as much as they year before, and it’s just continuing to grow. 4 billion things are shared every day according to Zuckerberg.
Which leads to his announcement about 3 new features of Facebook. First up is Group Chat. I know this has been around for a little while, within actual facebook groups, but now what it means is that you can invite a few of your friends to join into a chat at once. Not within an acutal Facebook group setting. So I can chat with my friends Therese and Danielle just like in the old days when we were all on Windows Live Messenger! Hey girls… are your shoes on?
Second up is the new design for chat. He said that most people have the screen real estate to run a whole chat bar on the side, and they are going to use that space to make starting a chat much easier.
The last super big announcement was that Facebook has partnered with Skype to offer video calling from within Facebook. The applet is really easy to use also. You can go to a friend’s profile, and if they are online you can click on the Call button at the top right of your screen. You can also open the chat bar, double click on the friend’s name and then click the little video camera icon within the chat window. What your friend will see is a little pop up message that you want to call them, and you can accept the call and install the applet yourself with just a couple easy clicks.
To get started with Video Calling now just go to http://www.facebook.com/videocalling and find out more information!
What Zuckerberg made clear was that Facebook will continue to focus on the social infrastructure and then partner with companies that are best in class to bring additional features to the table. They don’t want to try and do everything themselves like some other internet companies (ahem Google ahem). The other super interesting thing he said (while never really directly mentioning Google or Google+ in either the previous statement or this next one… is that while limited sharing (he’s talking about Google+’s circles here, indirectly) is a nice feature to have, and one that Facebook actually already has put in place (although it’s just not as intuitive as the Google+ Circles), Facebook has found that not many people are interested in that functionality. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s difficult to use in Facebook, but I have found that to be the case as I share things within Google+. My default is Public for most of my sharing in Google+. Once a majority of my friends and family are also in Google+, I’d probably limit some things I share to those specific circles, but I’d say for the most part I wouldn’t utilize super in depth circles to limit my sharing. We love the Google+ Circles, but how many of us will actually use them to limit sharing on a very specific level? Food for thought…
Anyway, if you’d like to watch the whole press conference yourself, I’ve embeded it below! It is pretty interesting!